Soft Law

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Soft law is a category of law that is not enforced by public authorities. Rather, it is type of norms or principles that are an expression of what is generally accepted among parties to whom it applies. As such, it is intended to influence the conduct of parties rather than force parties into certain types of behaviors that comply with the rules (Cini 2000). The term “soft law” covers a wide range of instruments that have different focuses. As a result, it is difficult to formulate a comprehensive, coherent set of criteria to include an instrument in the category of soft law. Soft law includes rules, principles, norms, and prescriptions and can be found in contracts, resolutions, recommendations, codes of conduct, and whole host of other instruments such as standards and guide (Boyle 1999; Weeks 2016; Sheehy 2019). In summary, soft law can be defined as “normative provisions contained in non-binding texts” (Shelton 2000).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Sustainable Management
EditorsSamuel Idowu, René Schmidpeter, Nicholas Capaldi, Liangrong Zu, Mara Del Baldo, Rute Abreu
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9783030020064
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Soft Law'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this