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International Law

A Critical Introduction

By: Wade Mansell, Karen Openshaw
Media of International Law
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Published: 22-08-2019
Format: Paperback
Edition: 2nd
Extent: 408
ISBN: 9781509926725
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £21.99
Online price : £15.39
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Loren Epson

About International Law

This new edition provides a critical introduction to the concepts, principles and rules of international law through a consideration of contemporary international events. It examines both the possibilities and limitations of the legal method in resolving international disputes, and notes the actual effects of international law upon international disagreements.

Such an approach remains sceptical rather than cynical, and is intended to provide the means by which the role of international law may be evaluated. This entails discussion of the legal quality of international law; the relationship between international law and international relations; the Eurocentricity' of international law; and the connection between political power and the ability to use or abuse (or ignore) international law. The new edition explores the impact of the United States' latest direction in foreign policy (arguably an intensification of pre-existing neo-conservative trends); considers in greater depth the issue of economic self-determination in relation to ex-colonial nations; expands the discussion of jurisdiction to cover immunity from jurisdiction; and covers recent developments at the International Criminal Court.

Underlying the book is the assertion that international law is political in content (in the sense of being concerned with the exercise of power) but that it draws much of its effectiveness from its self-portrayal as being apolitical, or at least politically neutral.

Table Of Contents

I. International Law and Domestic Law
II. Paradoxes in the Contemporary World
III. Law and Power
IV. The Structure of the Book

1. The Distinctive Nature of International Law
I. What is International Law?
II. How International Law Differs from Domestic Law
III. The Changing Nature of International Law
IV. International Law and Common Sense
V. What Makes International Law 'Law'?
VI. Why is it Necessary to Identify the Sources of International Law?

2. The Dynamic Quality of International Law
I. Introduction
II. The Concept of Sovereignty and Sovereign Equality
III. The Concept of Sovereignty and Jurisdiction
IV. Sovereignty and Controversial Bases of International Jurisdiction
V. Sovereign Equality and the Concept of Universal Jurisdiction
VI. Immunity from Jurisdiction
VII. Legal Personality in International Law
VIII.The Place of the Individual in International Law
IX. The Individual in International Law as Exemplified by the European Convention on Human Rights..
X. The Interrelationship between Sovereignty, Personality and the Individual in International Law

3. Self-determination and Territory in International Law
I. Introduction
II. The Concept of Self-determination in International Law before the Creation of the United Nations
III.The United Nations Charter, Self-determination and Decolonisation
IV.Self-determination after the Cold War
V. States, Territory and Recognition
VI.Territorial and Other Rights Over the Sea and its Bed
VII. Conclusion

4. The International Obligations of States: Treaties and State Responsibility
I. Introduction
II. The Law of Treaties
III.State Responsibility in International Law

5. The United Nations, the UN Charter and International Law
I. Introduction
II. The Origins of the UN
III.The Structure of the UN
IV.How the UN is Financed
V. The UN Charter: A Constitution for the World?
VI. Conclusion

6. Human Rights in International Law
I. Introduction
II. What are Human Rights?
III.The Politics of Human Rights
IV.The International Bill of Human Rights
V. Other Principal UN Human Rights Conventions and Bodies
VI.Regional Protection of Human Rights
VII. The International Criminal Court

7. The Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in International Law
I. Introduction
II. Legal Method and International Dispute Resolution
III.The International Court of Justice
IV. International Arbitration
V. Conclusion

8. Use of Force in International Law
I. Introduction
II. The Use of Force in International Law before the Creation of the UN
III.The Charter of the UN
IV.Chapter VII of the UN Charter
V. Self-defence in International Law
VI.From Humanitarian Intervention to Responsibility to Protect
VII. Rules Constraining the Type of Force Permissible
VIII. Conclusion

9. The Misery and Grandeur of International Law
I. Introduction
II. The Paradox of Sovereign Equality
III.The United States of America and International Law
IV.The Case of Israel and International Law
V. Conclusion


“The book is highly successful in its stated goal of providing a critical introduction to international law; one that foregrounds (rather than, as is customary, backgrounds) the operation of power and politics deep within the discipline itself and international law's deep connectedness to the (usually asymmetrical) exercise of power.” –  Obiora Okafor, Professor of International Law at Osgoode Hall, York University, Toronto,

“The first edition to this wonderful work promised that its critical approach would be “skeptical rather than cynical”. In analysing international law through a political lens, it was extremely successful. I am delighted that the publishers have had the foresight to commission a second edition to enlighten us all.” –  Roger S Clark, Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers Law School, New Jersey,

International Law: A Critical Introduction reaches below the surface of international law to interrogate the assumptions on which the system rests and bring to light its intimate connections with power. The work deepens our understanding of grand projects of global regulation through law, their capabilities and ultimate constraints.” –  Patrick Thornberry, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Keele University,

“This text provides an effective and efficient compass for the reader to navigate the current contemporary international law landscape. The text is easily read, and international legal principles are clearly and lucidly explained in a way which is commensurate with their complexity. The book covers the traditional topics of an international law module but the critical analysis of the exposition provides insight by painting with a broad brush the international political background against which law is played out. International Law: A Critical Introduction is welcome and timely.” –  Professor Rebecca Wallace, Research Professor, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen,

“This is a welcome addition to public international law scholarship. There is much to criticise in international law's conventional representation as a politically neutral, rules-based system that often contrasts sharply with practice, and this book does well to peel off the layers of dogma to reveal a credible portrayal of the subject in terms of its ambitions, actors and methods.” –  Michael Addo, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, and Director of the London Law Program,

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