in: J d’Aspremont and S Singh (eds), Fundamental Concepts for International Law: The Construction of a Discipline (E Elgar Forthcoming)
15 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 24, 2017
‘Coherence’ is a fundamental concept which raises fierce debates among international law scholars and practitioners. Some regard coherence as a ‘pathological desire’, others view it as being inherent to (international) law. This paper focuses on this political struggle and the views expressed in both international legal theory and practice.
The paper first proposes a brief overview of the fundamental issues debated among legal theorists in relation to ‘coherence’ and the content-determination of the law. It then introduces and critically analyses the main arguments put forth by international legal theorists - mainly the opponents - as to the relevance of ‘coherence’ in the discussion of the content-determination of international law. Finally, the paper discusses ‘coherence’ from the standpoint of international legal practice; more precisely, it focuses on international investment law which, because of the features of its treaty and arbitration practices, provides an insightful case-study to better grasp the concept of ‘coherence’.
Keywords: coherence; interpretation; legal reasoning; international law; international investment law
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