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Consider the extent to which international law is law, or ‘really law’ or ‘law properly so-called’ with reference to legal and other theorists

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Positivist views on international law.
    1. The rise and fall of the predominant paradigm.
    2. From Bentham's introduction to the principles of morals and legislation to H.L.A. Hart's the concept of law.
    3. Consequences of modernity on international law: The increasing haziness of discipline in theory and practice.
  3. Semantic attempts to frame the development of International law-related realities.
    1. A wide range of realities vs narrow definitions: A search for the happy medium.
    2. 'The Concept of Legalization' and other 'shades' of law: The end of the black and white era.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

Charlotte Ku and Paul F. Diehl noticed that at first sight, ?International' and ?Law' sound contradictory: ?how can one imagine a structured and developed legal system functioning in a political environment that is diffused, disparated, unregulated and conventionally described as anarchic?? Indeed, the ?instinctive' breaking down of the term tends to confirm that. In modern Western democracies, law is seen as a ?set' of legislatures, police and courts which create law, enforce it and punish those who violate it whereas ?International' is associated with the United Nations, the global level and economic, cultural and political differences. Is this impression of incompatibility justified? Can it be overcome? Considering ?the extent to which international law (IL) is law, or ?really law' or ?law properly-so-called'? requires, firstly, defining what is meant by international law, law, ?really law' and ?law properly-so-called'. Secondly, it calls for attempts to relate these terms to each other. Both stages entail a critical analysis of some prejudices and surface discrepancies. This is the purpose of this essay.

[...] Semantic attempts to frame the development of International law- related realities A wide range of realities vs narrow definitions: a search for the happy medium Rules, legal system, primary rules Determining to what extent IL is law remains difficult partly because of the ambiguity or the vagueness of related terms. Are rules elements of law like atoms make up a molecule? Which kind of rules etc ? The underlying issue of these definitions is the delimitation of IL. ?Rule' is ambiguous[17]: one may find five meanings for this word. [...]


[...] Law is "set" by the "sovereign" (i.e., the person or persons to whom a society renders habitual obedience and who render no such obedience to others). With Martin Koskenniemi's and M.W. Janis' articles, we saw that sovereignty and statehood become fuzzy notions. The sovereignty can be pooled as in the EU. States governments, i.e. the traditional ?owners' of sovereignty, can delegate sovereignty in a lot of different ways, with different intensity (delegation dimension[33]). The dialogal model implies the look for compromise, for states, it means that they can't take as hard lines as before with the other states. [...]


[...] They can be used in order to describe and channel the dialectics between the concept of law and the realities of International law, the latter ?backfiring' at the former. However, the question of the delimitation of both law and IL is a subjective one and, as such, is still open to debate. Bibliography - International Law: Classic and Contemporary Readings, C. Ku & Paul F. Diehl, ?International Law as an Operating System and a Normative System: an Overview? - An Introduction to International Law, M. [...]

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