Starting with the present issue, we will be publishing The EJIL Foreword in the first issue of each year.
The idea, and the title, are unashamedly ‘borrowed’ (we did not ask them) from the famous Harvard Law Review Foreword. We will be inviting each year a ‘distinguished’ scholar in the field – distinguished not simply by an illustrious career, but also by having, we believe, something interesting to say – to present a ‘state of the field’ type article, permitting on an annual basis a regular ‘deep breath’ reflection on international law with a horizontal appeal to many readers.
A higher word limit, in the range of 40,000 words, will permit, we trust and hope, a more extensive analysis, synthesis, conceptualization, or systemic theorization than is usually possible in an EJIL article. Considerable licence will be given to each author to define the topic of his or her Foreword, but in principle it will be expected to:
- define an original vision of the field, and/or
- reflect on the state of the discipline as a whole (or a particularly pressing challenge facing it)
in light of recent events and developments in practice.
The inaugural Foreword, by Jan Klabbers, published in this issue captures, in its ambition, breadth and depth, precisely the type of piece we have in mind. We also invite readers to watch the extensive EJIL Live! conversation with Professor Klabbers concerning his Foreword.
The celebrated Hague General Courses serve in some ways a similar function to The EJIL Foreword, but both the format and size of a General Course of International Law are quite different. Our own ambition and hope is that the Foreword will establish itself in its own way as a kind of ‘cousin’ of the General Course, an important ‘event’ on the IL intellectual calendar, and that over time the accumulation of EJIL Forewords will constitute a repository of profound reflection on international law itself and of self-reflection on the academic discipline of international law.