The Development of International Law, Perception, and the Problem of Time
Forthcoming in L Pasquet, K Polackova Van der Ploeg, and L Castellanos Jankiewicz (eds) International Law and Time: Narratives and Techniques (Springer)
19 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 13, 2017
‘International law develops over time’ – an uncontroversial statement. Yet the mechanism of this development is not entirely clear. This paper suggests that the conceptual foundations of both rule-identification and rule-interpretation in international law are problematic, specifically due to ignoring the temporal dimension as we experience it.
The argument set out here is as follows: discussions over the development of international law are necessarily related to the concept of change; that the concept of change necessarily contains a temporal element; and the principal tools for rule-identification and rule-interpretation in international law fail to acknowledge this temporal element and thus distort the findings of the aforementioned exercises.
Keywords: International law, legal theory, time, customary international law, sources of international law, treaty interpretation.
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