Classifications of Associations and Unions

Principle of classifications of Associations and Unions of States. Some writers classify real unions, confederations, and federal unions as different forms of a “composite” state, distinguishing from a “simple” state. But this classification is unsound because real unions and confederations are not in fact states, nor is a federal union a “composite” state. Its government may be composite, but the state cannot be.

Kinds of Unions:-

Two or more states may join themselves together into associations, leagues, or unions to achieve either general or particular objects. The forms that such associations take lend themselves to differentiation and classification much more readily than do states themselves.

In some cases, the unions thus formed are themselves states, in which case their component members lose by merging their character as real states. In other cases, no new state is created by the union, in which case the members retain their identity as states. In other cases, still, there is doubt as to whether a new state is created by the union, although it is clear that the states forming it do not lose their character as states.

Unions of states may rest upon the principle of equality, each associate member retaining its own sovereignty and independence, upon the principle of inequality, where some of the members stand in the relation of superiority in respect to the others, or upon the principle of equality among themselves concerning their competence, the members net retaining their sovereignty, and hence the right to determine the limits of their own competence.

Jellinek’s Classification of Unions:

The late Professor Jellinek, whose studies of state unions represent the most valuable contribution made to the literature of the subject? classified the various associations of states which have a juridical foundation into two general groups

  • First, those who are organized and
  • Second, those who are unorganized.

In the first category, he placed those in which more or less permanent juridical relations have been entered into among the associated states to advance certain common political ends but in which no central administrative or other common organization has been created.

Within this class, he included such associations as alliances, ententes, leagues, etc., formed for the common defense against attack, the guarantee of particular rights, the maintenance of neutrality, etc. They are necessarily created by treaties and conventions between the states forming them.

Within this class, he also placed the form of union to which he gave the name of Staatenstaat, an association in which there is a liaison between a superior and an inferior State, the latter being subject more or less to control by the former particularly regarding its foreign relations?

Examples of this type of association were afforded by the Middle Ages’ feudal system, the old German Empire after the Peace of Westphalia, the system of vassal states in their relations with the Ottoman. Porte, and the modern system of protectorates.

The establishment of these relationships was the result of various causes, mainly historical. However, in the case of protectorates, they were created either by the unilateral act of the protecting state, sometimes without the Protected state’s consent, or by voluntary conventional arrangement.

This classification is not entirely satisfactory since it attributes to alliances the character of unions of states, which they are not in any juridical sense. It may also be doubted whether the relationship between a vassal state and its suzerain and that between a protected state and its protector, especially when the status of dependence created in both cases has been imposed upon the inferior state against its will, may be properly regarded as a “union ” of states. The notion of union implies an association voluntarily entered into co-equal states rather than a dependent status imposed upon a weaker state by a superior state.

The second class of unions, according to Jellinek’s classification, namely organized unions, includes those who not only are bound together by relations of a juridical nature but also have certain common central organs such as a common chief of state, coma mon administrative bureaus, commissions, or other organs, common assemblies which may or may not be full legislative bodies, etc.

He placed personal unions, real unions, confederations, federal unions, and international administrative unions in this group. Each differs from the others in important particulars. Still, they all have one common characteristic, namely, a central organ or organs through which the union’s will is manifested, and certain common objects are sought to be promoted.

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