Recognition of State in International Law

Recognition of State in International Law with a short explanation

Meaning and Definition of the Term Recognition


According to Prof. G.Schwarzenberger, “The growth of international law is best understood as an expanding process from a nucleus of entities which have accepted each other’s negative sovereignty and on the basis of consent, are prepared to maintain and possibly expand the scope of their legal relations.
According to Kelsen, a community to be recognized as an international person must fulfil the following condition:
(1) The community must be politically organised;
(2) It should have control over a definite territory;
(3) This definite control should tend towards permanence; and
(4) The community thus constituted must be independent. Thus the conditions of a Statehood are (a) People: (b) a territory; (c) government; and (d) Sovereignty .
“Recognition of a State in an act by which another State acknowledge that the political entity Recognized possesses the attributes of Statehood.


Theories of Recognition

There are two main theories of recognition:
  1. Constitutive theory: According to this theory recognition clothes the Recognized state with right and duties under International law. Recognization is a process through which a political community acquires international personality by becoming a member of a family of nation. Heel, Anzilloti, Oppenheim are supported constitutive theory.
  2. Declarative Theory: According to this theory a State comes into existen ve in International Law as soon as it acquires all the attributes of Statehood. By having all the attributes, an entity exists in fact. Recognation by other States supplies the evidence of this fact. The Act of recognation is therefore declaration of an existen fact that an entity possesses the essential attributes of statehood. This theory has been advocated by Hall, Brierly and Fisher. This theory appeared yo be better than the constitutive theory.

Forms of Recognition

A State may be Recognized in two ways. They are: They are: express recognition and implied recognition.
  1. Express Recognition                                                                                                                  When an existing State Recognizes the new State by a notification or declaration, announcing the intention of recognition, the recognition is said to be expressed. 
  2. Implied Recognition

When the existing States do not make formal declaration as to the recognition of a new State, but at the same time they indicate their intention to recognise the new State by some acts, it amount to recognition. Montevideo Covention of 1933 under Article 7 states that the tasvir or implied recognition results from any act which implies the intention of recognizing the new State.

Montevideo Convention

To consider a State as an international person, State should adhere to the following qualifications-

  • Permanent Population;
  • Definite Territory;
  • Government;
  • Capacity to enter into relations with other States.

Related Case Laws:
Luther vs. Sagor (1921 (1) KB 456)


Recognition of State in part of public international. There is no single mode to determine the process but it’s a state-sovereign power of the state.  


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