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Title: Necessity in international law
Author: Manton, Ryan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 8600
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the role of necessity, as a defence to State responsibility, in international law. Necessity provides a State with a defence to the responsibility that would otherwise arise from its breach of an international obligation where the only way that State can safeguard an essential interest from a grave and imminent peril is to breach an obligation owed to a less imperilled State. It is a defence that has generated a considerable body of jurisprudence in recent years and yet it continues to be plagued by a perception that States have abused it in the past and by fears that States will abuse it in the future - 'necessity', declared the German Chancellor on the eve of World War I, 'knows no law'. This thesis contends that this perception is flawed and these fears are unfounded. The main claim of this thesis is that necessity operates as a safety valve within the law of State responsibility that mediates between the binding quality of international obligations and the harsh consequences that may follow from requiring compliance with those obligations at all costs. This safety valve promotes the reasonable application of international law and it recognises that international law must sometimes bend so that it does not break. The thesis bears out this claim by contending that necessity has a stronger pedigree than is commonly appreciated and that it is solidly grounded in, and its contours are constrained by, customary international law. It charts those contours by first examining the scope of the obligations to which necessity may provide a defence, which includes examining how necessity relates to fields of law that contain their own safety valves regulating emergency situations. It then proceeds to examine the conditions that a State must satisfy in order to establish necessity and it finally examines the consequences of necessity, including for the stability of international law. The thesis concludes that any suggestion that 'necessity knows no law' has no place in international law today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International law ; Arbitration (International law) ; State Responsibility ; Emergency ; Necessity