The exercise of discretion in international law – why constraining criteria have a proper place in the analysis of legal decision-making

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In international law, the exercise of legal discretion is constrained by criteria, such as the abuse of rights doctrine and the principle of legal certainty. The hitherto research of these criteria gives reason to take up a discussion on the appropriate way of conceptualising discretion and constraining criteria. This article, in contrast to the belief of other scholars, makes a case for the understanding of the exercise of discretion as an activity separate from legal interpretation. As it insists, the application of a constraining criterion is wholly distinct from the form of arguments that can be derived from rules of interpretation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law (excluding Law and Society)


  • Constraining Criteria, Discretion, Exercise of Discretion, Interpretation, Rules of Interpretation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-430
Number of pages24
JournalGerman Yearbook of International Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch