Secession and the Law
This chapter is concerned with the legality of secession. This question can be examined in the contexts of a state’s constitutional law and international law. As will be explained secession can be legal in both contexts. However, what must be kept in mind is that even if secession is illegal it may be effective if the seceding entity is recognized as a state by the international community. As the Canadian Supreme Court in the Quebec Case observed, although recognition is not necessary to achieve statehood, in the context of secession, ‘the viability of a would-be state in the international community depends, as a practical matter, upon recognition by other states’ (Quebec Case, 1998, p. 289).