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Disaggregating Customary International Law

12 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2010 Last revised: 4 Mar 2010

Paul B. Stephan III

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: February 25, 2010


Abstract: This paper responds to a provocative essay by Curtis Bradley and Mitu Gulati on exiting from customary international law. Bradley and Gulati argue that until the mid-twentieth century, unilateral exit from customary international law was widely accepted in at least some circumstances, and that such exit is normatively desirable. I attempt to illuminate their thesis by demonstrating the diversities of customary international law and how exit works in different categories and before different fora.

Keywords: international law, international relations

Suggested Citation

Stephan, Paul B., Disaggregating Customary International Law (February 25, 2010). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2010-08. Available at SSRN: or

Paul Stephan (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

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