Theory of International Law

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Populist Governments and International Law: A Rejoinder to Paul Blokker and Marcela Prieto Rudolphy

  I am grateful to Paul Blokker and Marcela Prieto Rudolphy for their thoughtful replies to my article on “Populist Governments and International Law”. In that article, I inquire into the question as to how populist governments contribute with their argumentative strategies and governmental practices to current perceptions of a crisis of and related shifts in the international legal order. Identifying such shifts poses methodological challenges. To address these challenges, I have relied on a formal conception of populism, focussed on some of the basic rules and structures of the international legal order and used the heuristic tool of ideal types to assess populist governments’ stance to international law. In particular, the criticism by Marcela Prieto Rudolphy takes an issue with my approach and thereby reflects three wide-spread strands of doubt about how to evaluate structural shifts: a too high level of abstraction of categories applied, the claim that the international law does (no longer) represent a unified object of observation and the use of ideal types as a heuristic instrument.

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International Civil Servants and Their Unexplored Role in International Law

2019 marks the centenary of the foundation of the League of Nations. While the early intergovernmental organizations (IOs) founded before WWI were often staffed by seconded officials, Eric Drummond, the British diplomat and the first Secretary-General of the League, set the ground for creation of an ‘international’ secretariat, composed of professional public servants of various backgrounds, who were…

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Reply to Dunoff and Pollack: ‘Experimenting with International Law’

In the last issue of the European Journal of International Law we published an experimental study on the ability of international law students and experts to ignore information in the context of treaty interpretation. The same issue included a follow-up article by Jeffrey Dunoff and Mark Pollack. We find Dunoff and Pollack’s practical exercise of critically reading…

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Turbulent Times for the International Rule of Law: A Reply

Note from the Editors:  This post concludes our first EJIL:Talk! Contributing Editors' Debate, where our distinguished Contributing Editors lent their views on broad themes of international law and the state of the art, science, and discipline of international law.  Our thanks to Andreas Zimmermann (Co-Director of the Berlin-Potsdam Research Group, 'The International Rule of Law -…

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The Thickening of the International Rule of Law in ‘Turbulent’ Times

Note from the Editors:  This week we hold the first EJIL:Talk! Contributing Editors' Debate, where some or all of our distinguished Contributing Editors lend their views on broad themes of international law and the state of the art, science, and discipline of international law.  Our thanks to Andreas Zimmermann (Co-Director of the Berlin-Potsdam Research Group, 'The…

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