Law No. (20) of the Year 1998Customs Law
Customary international law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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(20) of the Year 1998 Customs Law
Soviet law recognizes customary law in instances where legal codes do not cover a particular social relationship. For example, custom may supplement the basic conditions of a contract, and it is used in resolving disputes over the division of property in a kolkhoz household. The Merchant Shipping Code of the USSR (arts. 134, 135, 149, and 151) states that agreements concerning such matters as the time allowed for loading operations and the payment due for delay after a ship has been loaded (demurrage) are concluded in conformity with the customs prevailing in the given port.
Customary law is recognized, not because it is backed by the powerof some strong individual or institution, but because each individualrecognizes the benefits of behaving in accordance with other individuals'expectations, _given_ that others also behave as he expects. Alternatively,if a minority coercively imposes law from above, then that lawwill require much more force to maintain social order than isrequired when law develops from the bottom through mutual recognitionand acceptance.Dispute resolution can be a major source of legal change sincean adjudicator will often make more precise those rules aboutwhich differences of opinion exist, and even supply new rulesbecause no generally recognized rules cover a new situation. Ifthe relevant group accepts the ruling it becomes part of customarylaw, but not because it is coercively imposed on a group by someauthority backing the court. Thus, good rules that facilitateinteraction tend to be selected over time, while bad decisionsare ignored.Under customary law, offenses are treated as torts (private wrongsor injuries) rather than crimes (offenses against the state orthe "society"). A potential action by one person hasto affect someone else before any question of legality can arise;any action that does not, such as what a person does alone orin voluntary cooperation with someone else but in a manner thatclearly harms no one, is not likely to become the subject of arule of conduct under customary law. Fuller proposed that "customarylaw" might best be described as a "language of interaction."Facilitating interaction can only be accomplished with recognitionof clear (although not necessarily written) codes of conduct enforcedthrough reciprocally acceptable, well established adjudicationarrangements accompanied by effective legal sanctions.Should a dispute arise, reciprocal support groups give individualsa position of strength. This does not necessarily mean, however,that disputes are settled by warfare between groups. Violenceis a costly means of solving a dispute: if the accuser and hissupport group attack the accused, the accused's group is obligedto avenge the attack. Consequently, arrangements and proceduresfor non-violent dispute resolution should evolve very quicklyin customary law systems.