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What are General Principles of Law?
Restatement of the Law - The Foreign Relations Law of the United States
Summary of the American approach to international law and diplomacy and the role of international law in American jurisprudence. Access through Westlaw or LexisNexis.
The Restatement, Section 102(4) reads: (4) "General principles common to the major legal systems, even if not incorporated or reflected in customary law or international agreement, may be invoked as supplementary rules of international law where appropriate."
The expression of this concept is more familiar to civilians than it is to common lawyers. Most civil codes have a statement to the effect that in the absence of express law, judges can turn to general principles to resolve disputes.