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Legitimacy and Legality in International Law
An Interactional Account

$139.00 (C)

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Date Published: September 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521880657

$ 139.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • It has never been more important to understand how international law enables and constrains international politics. By drawing together the legal theory of Lon Fuller and the insights of constructivist international relations scholars, this book articulates a pragmatic view of how international obligation is created and maintained. First, legal norms can only arise in the context of social norms based on shared understandings. Second, internal features of law, or ‘criteria of legality', are crucial to law's ability to promote adherence, to inspire ‘fidelity'. Third, legal norms are built, maintained or destroyed through a continuing practice of legality. Through case studies of the climate-change regime, the anti-torture norm, and the prohibition on the use of force, it is shown that these three elements produce a distinctive legal legitimacy and a sense of commitment among those to whom law is addressed.

    • Provides a novel theory of how international obligation is created and sustained, showing that a continuing practice of legality is crucial in both treaty and customary law
    • Addresses a fundamental divide amongst international lawyers over the role of 'soft law'
    • Helps IR theorists and students understand the particular value of legal norms
    • Demonstrates that norm-interested IR theory and accounts of law that are not purely rationalist are neither naïve nor inevitably optimistic
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    • Winner of the ASIL Creative Scholarship Award 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    "[This book] is … so well argued and thought-provoking that even staunch opponents of its starting points will draw much benefit from it."
    Nico Krisch, Hertie School of Governance

    "… exceedingly good … a highly convincing account of the emergence of international law."
    Wibren van der Burg, University of Toronto Law Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521880657
    • length: 436 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. An interactional theory of international legal obligation
    2. Shared understandings: making and unmaking international law
    3. Interactional law and compliance: law's hidden power
    4. Climate change: building a global legal regime
    5. Torture: undermining normative ambition
    6. The use of force: normative ebb and flow

  • Authors

    Jutta Brunnée, University of Toronto
    Jutta Brunnée is Professor of Law and Metcalf Chair in Environmental Law at the University of Toronto.

    Stephen J. Toope, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
    Stephen J. Toope is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia.


    • Winner of the ASIL Creative Scholarship Award 2011

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