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LCIL Friday Lecture: 'From Drivers to Bystanders: The Varying Roles of States in International Legal Change' - Dr Nico Krisch, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies
International law is in constant movement, and any proper account of the international legal order needs to place this movement at the centre. “The course of international law needs to be understood if international law is to be understood,” says James Crawford in the opening of his general course at the Hague Academy in 2013. Yet rarely do we find focused and systematic attention to this ‘course of international law,’ to the ways in which international legal rules change, get reaffirmed or disappear. In this paper, we take a step towards a broader account of these dynamics, and we interrogate in particular the varying roles states play in them – largely from an empirical, not a doctrinal starting point. We pay particular attention to contexts in which states take secondary roles in change processes – roles of bystanders, catalysts, or spoilers – and we outline two core factors which, we believe, can help us understand much of the variation we observe. With this, we hope to dispel some of the shadows cast by doctrinal respresentations and make progress on the way to on the way to developing a richer, more empirically-oriented and more ‘social’ account of the paths of international law. The paper results from a research project on “The Paths of International Law”, funded by the European Research Council, and it is co-authored with Ezgi Yildiz, postdoctoral researcher at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

Nov 12, 2021 01:00 PM in London

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