The Concept of Compliance as a Function of Competing Conceptions of International Law

The purpose of this article is to challenge the tendency in the existing literature to view “compliance” simply as “correspondence of behavior with legal rules.” This tendency is intelligibly based in a theoretical view that law can properly be defined and understood as a body of rules and expresses a practical concern to get on with the important task of producing empirical studies of compliance. The logical corollary is that a reasonable degree of conformity between these rules and actual behavior is necessary to an efficacious legal system, so that recurrent and widespread non-conformity with rules would usually call into question the existence of law.