States and Statehood

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Hope and the Gradual Self-Constituting of Mankind

Philip Allott is a mind-altering substance. It is not possible to leave one of his lectures, or to read one of his books or articles, without undergoing a profound change in thought and attitude towards humanity and the role of law in its service. The idea of international law as the law of all humanity and of all societies that Professor Allott has rediscovered and developed over the years is an appealing one. However, in his latest contribution to this blog, Professor Allott draws a rather dark consequence from this conception. As we have not been able to transform ourselves, and the law that governs us, from the neo-classical state system into a true Eunomia—a self-ordering system in which all individuals and groups come together to regulate themselves—we are left with nothing. It is a lawless world, and one which leaves us in: a legal wasteland in which those involved in events and transactions can pick and choose among competing and conflicting legal systems to suit their purposes. And there are countless…

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A Lateral View of the International System: Responding to the Collapse of Global Government

The human world is beset by unprecedented global problems in a state of unprecedented global disorder. Climate change. Destruction of habitats, exhausting of natural resources, extinction of animal species. Global threats to human health, including plagues and pandemics. War and the threat of war, including new forms, such as cyber war, space war, bacteriological war. Internal wars that…

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Contested Governments and State Representation before International Courts and Tribunals

Introduction When the identity of a state’s government is contested or otherwise in doubt, who may represent the state for some specific purpose of international law is not-infrequently a contentious matter. While the question who may represent a state before or vis-à-vis an international adjudicative body does not arise often, there exists a number of…

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Two Questions on Coups and Representation before International Courts

Think of Myanmar, and the awful consequences of the military coup which are continuing to unfold. One of these consequences – among the least awful, but among the more legally interesting – is that in the immediate aftermath of the coup it is unclear which set of individuals is the government of that state, entitled to represent it…

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Unpacking Sovereignty and Self-determination in ITLOS and the ICC: A Bundle of Rights?

In a short space of time, two international courts have handed down rather dramatic decisions related to the contested issues of self-determination and sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago and Palestine, which have, for a very long time now, been under the UK and Israeli occupation respectively. On 28 January 2021, an ITLOS Special Chamber found…

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