chapter  8
7 Pages

Professor Falk on the Quasi-legislative Competence of the General Assembly

ByN. G. Onuf

A recurring theme in the voluminous writings of Professor Richard A. Falk concerns the role of the United Nations General Assembly in the process of creating international law. The heart of Falk's middle position is to be found in his argument that the General Assembly produces norms that functionally operate as law, even though they are not formally binding. The process of inferring law from evidence of law-abidingness is a general one; what varies is the material source (manner of formulation) of the putative norm against which behavior is measured. In short, Falk establishes a basis of obligation for quasi-legislative resolutions which is merely a refined version of the basis of obligation typically posited by positivists for customary international law. Falk is altogether unsure that the process of customary law formation, even when it involves General Assembly resolutions, is adequate to the needs of the international order of the day.