Parliamentary Participation in the Making and Operation of Treaties:A Comparative Study

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9780792317357: Parliamentary Participation in the Making and Operation of Treaties:A Comparative Study

This book represents the culmination of a project initiated in 1990 which brought together a group of judges, scholars and government officials to address the role of parliaments in the making and implementation of international treaty law. Treaties are increasingly employed to define the rights and obligations of individuals in the field of human rights, to regulate the participation of persons (both individual and corporate) across the broad spectrum of economic activity within and across national boundaries, as well as to control human activity as it impacts on the environment. These are matters which historically were largely within the regulatory competence of national authorities, but now are increasingly the subject of international legislation. But the role of the parliament with respect to the making of international legislation has remained substantially confined within a customary historical model. For the past several centuries, the national executive has played the principal role in the initiation, negotiation, conclusion and operation of treaties. The parliament's role has been secondary, being largely confined to the approval or rejection of engagements proposed by the executive. Over the past decades there has been a movement in a number of countries toward a more active role for parliament, particularly with respect to demands to provide guidance to the executive. Nevertheless, while the historical distribution of treaty powers may remain appropriate in traditional areas of executive prerogative (for example, in the realm of political relations and national security), one must question the extent to which increased parliamentary participation is adequate in relation to the making of international law by treaty, particularly when the treaty is an instrument with national legislative effects. This volume is a resource for those who wish to pursue the question of the actual or desirable role of parliaments in the making and operation of treaties.

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