TWAIL: A Paradox within a Paradox

22:2 International Community Law Review 191

25 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2019 Last revised: 5 Oct 2021

Date Written: May 5, 2019


What insight do critical perspectives bring to international legal theory? In the following article, I answer this question through an examination of TWAIL. Troubled by geopolitical imbalance in the enterprise of international law, a group of critically minded scholars sought to expand the scope of legal scholarship. They would do so by growing a scholarly community sensitive to Third World concerns in their engagement with international law. Movements are known to collapse just as quickly as they sprout and it is testament to TWAIL’s force that, twenty years on, it is still gaining momentum.

Self-described as a theory, method, sensibility, movement, and, as per the moniker, approach, TWAIL’s place in legal theory remains ambiguous. Drawing on a range of TWAIL scholars as well as journeymen commentators, I investigate, first, how its scholars represent TWAIL’s theoretical credentials and, second, where its contribution fits in the field.

Keywords: TWAIL, critical international legal theory, scholarly movements

Suggested Citation

al Attar, Mohsen, TWAIL: A Paradox within a Paradox (May 5, 2019). 22:2 International Community Law Review 191, Available at SSRN:

Mohsen Al Attar (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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