Soft Law Law and Legal Definition

Soft law refers to rules that are neither strictly binding in nature nor completely lacking legal significance. In the context of international law, soft law refers to guidelines, policy declarations or codes of conduct which set standards of conduct. However, they are not directly enforceable.

Hard law refers to binding laws. In the context of international law, hard law includes treaties or international agreements, as well as customary laws. These documents create enforceable obligations and rights for countries (states) and other international entities.

Often, declarations of an international organization are regarded as a kind of aspirational soft law. [Lantz v. Coleman, 2010 Conn. Super. LEXIS 621 (Conn. Super. Ct. Mar. 9, 2010)]