International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Aspects of ‘Soft Law’ and the Use of ‘MoUs’ as a Tool for 'Soft' Cooperation

The paper conceptualises and presages 'soft law' as widely adopted and followed despite lacking a coercive and legal force. However, since legal standards are susceptible to cooperation network tendencies. It is evident that a substantial part of 'soft law' today, in an impressionistic way, describes part of tomorrow's 'hard law'. In this sense, the normative emission of international institutions is playing a catalytic role in the process. Since the cooperation tendencies often occur when the value of a standard to a user increases as the number of other agents using the same standard grows, which in turn draws more users to the standard, as seen in the case of memorandum of understanding (MoUs). In this regard, the paper argues that many areas of 'soft law' exhibit strong cooperation tendencies, which induce voluntary adoption and even compliance. As the tendencies of 'soft law' are gaining grounds, despite having crucial implications for global governance. This is because it is difficult to identify among the codified principles, the ones that already belongs to lexlata and those still to be considered as lexferenda. Since the codifying bodies find 'soft law' to be reliable indicators of actual trends in contemporary international law-making. From this, the paper emphasizes that 'soft law' may represent opportunities for the promotion of international norms that can further the legalisation of international relations. As it is considered part of a continuum of international legal mechanisms, contributing to the development of international law, creating stability and expectation in international relations, and facilitating international cooperation. Thus, it is a non-binding instrument with a robust persuasive force within the international community. From these, the paper examines the double impact of memorandum of understandings as 'soft law' in the likesof binding registrable instruments and non-binding instruments, focusing on MoUs as a tool for 'soft cooperation'.

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