Recognition of State in International Law

Recognition of State in International Law

Recognition of state

Recognition of the State can be defined as the “a legal acknowledgment or acceptance of a state by the other states which are already recognized as international personality under the International community”. The other countries identify the new state as the international community.

Essentials for recognition as a state:

There are mainly four essentials that must be possessed by a state to recognize as State. Article 1 of the Montevideo Conference, 1933 defines the essentials for the recognition of state which are as follow:

Permanent population:

The state which is going to consider as the state must have their permanent population. There will be no loss or benefit if the population of the country is high or low, for the [Recognition] there must be the population the counting shall not matter. The population must not become for holidays or only for traveling. It should be the permanent population of that state.

Definite territory:

The state must have its definite territory which is specified under the map that this territory belongs to this particular state. The state which has not its definite territory will not be recognized as a state.


The state must have a government that is holding the work in that country.

Capacity to enter into relations with other states:

The state must have the capacity to come into relations and trades with other recognized states.

All these four are the essentials for the [Recognition] of a state.

What are the legal effects of the recognition of the state?

The recognition as a state is important for every new state because it gives some rights and duties to that state, such as:

  • The state can directly come into diplomatic relations with other states.
  • The state can join the treaties signed by other countries and the state can also make treaties with one or more states after the recognition.
  • After the recognition, the state will have the power to undergo state succession.
  • After the recognition of the state, the state can sue other states or be sued by other states.
  • The state has the power to become a member of the UNO(United Nations Organization).

Theories of recognition

Two main theories are given under the International law for the recognition of a state, which are: 

Consecutive Theory

Declaratory Theory

Let’s read both the theories in detail.

Consecutive Theory

The proponents of the consecutive are Oppenheim, Anziloti, and Hegal.

This theory simply said that a state requires recognition from the existing sovereign states to become an international person. Only after the recognition of other states, a state becomes the subject of International law and recognized as an International person. According to this theory, even if a state has all the essentials which are required for the recognition, the state would not become subject to International law except recognized by other existing states.

The theory doesn’t mean that a state cannot exist without the recognition given by other states, but the state can only get the exclusive rights and duties after its recognition by existing sovereign States.

Declaratory Theory

The proponents of the declaratory theory are Wigner, Fisher, Hall, and Brierly. The theory said that a new state is independent of the consent by other sovereign states. This theory was laid down under article 3 of the Montevideo Conference in 1933. According to this theory, the new state can exist even without the recognition by other states and the new state has the right to defend its integrity and independence under International law. The followers of this theory consider the recognition by other states as the formality of statehood.

Methods of Recognition

There are two methods of acknowledgment of State:

  1. De facto Recognition
  2. De Jure Recognition

Let’s know about these two:

 De facto Recognition

De facto Recognition is a temporary acknowledgment of statehood. This is the first step of De Jure’s recognition.

In the De Facto Recognition, the new state has held the sufficient territory and population, but the other states consider that the new state does not have stability or any other essential which it must have, so the existing states give its formal recognition that if the new state will pass to fulfill the required essentials, the other state will consider it as state after that.

Israel, Taiwan, and Bangladesh are examples of de facto [Recognition].

De jure recognition

De jure recognition is the acknowledgment of a new state by the other state after the fulfillment of essential given under the International law. The existing state can give its de jure recognition either with or without the de facto [Recognition]. The De Jure recognition can only be given to a newly formed state when a new state acquires all the essentials to become a state.

Types of Recognition

The types of recognition can be made in two main types, which are:

  • Expressed Recognition
  • Implied Recognition

Expressed Recognition

When an existing state gives de jure [Recognition] to the new state through official notification, it is considered as expressed recognition.

Implied Recognition

When an existing state gives its [Recognition] to a new state by the implied act is called implied recognition. For example, if an existing state makes the treaty with the new state, it would be recognized as implied [Recognition].

Conditional recognition

The conditional [Recognition] is when an existing state makes a treaty with the newly formed state by attaching the conditions in it is called conditional [Recognition] that if the new state fulfills these conditions then that state will be recognized as a state.

Withdrawal of Recognition

There are two types of withdrawal of [Recognition]

Withdrawal of De facto recognition

The existing state has given its de facto recognition to a new state but the new state is failed to fulfill the conditions of statehood, the existing state can withdraw its de facto [Recognition] by formal declaration or through communication.

Withdrawal of De Jure recognition

It is a very debatable topic under International law because it is a very exceptional event that occurred in International Law. The De Jure [Recognition] can only be withdrawn when a state loses its essentials to become a state. The withdrawal of the De Jure recognition can only be done by expressly by a public statement.

Recognition of Government

The government is an important element for statehood. The government of a state is changed from time to time with elections. If the government of a state is changed with an ordinary course like elections, the [Recognition] of a government is not required but if the government has been changed due to any revolution occurred in the state, the [Recognition] of government by the existing state is required.

The [Recognition] of the new government after the revolution is done by existing state by viewing a few steps that:

  • The new government has sufficient control over the people and territory of that state or not.
  • The new government is willing to fulfill their duties of not.

If the existing state is satisfied that the new government can fulfill these conditions, they will give its [Recognition] and the new government will be recognized by that state.


The recognition of a new state is useful for the state to become a subject of International law. The state can enjoy its rights and duties after the [Recognition]. Though there is the controversy between the theories of the recognition of state but the existing states are using harmonious [Recognition], which means they are using the theory between both the theories.

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