Making Non-Legalities in International Law
NON-LEGALITY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: UNRULY LAW, F. Johns, Cambridge University Press: United Kingdom, 2013
11 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 18, 2013
This paper is an excerpt from the opening chapter of a book recently published by Cambridge University Press, Non-legality in International Law: Unruly Law. International lawyers typically start with the legal. What is a legal as opposed to a political question? How should international law adapt to the unforeseen? These are the routes by which international lawyers typically reason. The book begins, instead, with the non-legal. In a series of case studies, this book examines what international lawyers cast outside or against law – as extra-legal, illegal, pre-legal or otherwise non-legal – and how this comes to shape political possibility. Non-legality, this book shows, is not merely the remainder of regulatory action. It is a key structuring device of contemporary global order. Constructions of non-legality are pivotal to debate in areas ranging from torture to foreign investment, and from climate change to natural disaster relief. Understandings of non-legality inform what international lawyers today do and what they refrain from doing. Tracing and potentially reimagining the non-legal in international legal work is, accordingly, both vital and pressing.
Keywords: international law, non-legality, illegality, extra-legality, torture, Guantanamo Bay, international finance, climate change law, disaster management
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation