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Chapter

Cover International Law

2. What is International Law For?  

Martti Koskenniemi

This chapter provides four responses to the question: what is international law for? First, international law seeks to advance the values, interests, and preferences that those in dominant positions seek to realize in the world. Second, it gives voice to those who have been excluded from powerful positions and are regularly treated as the objects of other peoples’ policies; it provides a platform on which claims about violence, injustice, and social deprivation may be made even against the dominant elements. Third, the objective of international law is always also international law itself. Fourth, international law exists as a promise of justice.

Chapter

Cover Learning Legal Rules

11. Understanding Legal Reasoning and the Future of Law  

This concluding chapter focuses on legal methods more conceptually. It aims to develop in readers a deeper understanding of what is involved in legal reasoning, understood primarily as the logical and argumentative forms of reasoning used in adjudication. It goes on to explore the question whether legal rules act as a significant justification for or constraint on judicial decision-making, as explained through the competing lenses of two important methodologies: legal formalism and legal realism. The significance of this conceptual debate about legal reasoning is illustrated with reference to current attempts to model legal decision-making through digital expert systems and AI, and these processes are used to highlight a number of themes and issues from earlier chapters in the book.

Book

Cover The Concept of Law

HLA Hart

Edited by Joseph Raz and Penelope A. Bulloch

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. The Concept of Law is an important work of legal philosophy. It was first published fifty years ago. This book includes a new introduction that sets the book in the context of subsequent developments in social and political philosophy, clarifying misunderstandings of Hart's project and highlighting central tensions and problems in the work. Topics covered include: sovereign and subject, the law as the unions of primary and secondary rules, formalism, rule-scepticism, justice, morality, and international law.

Chapter

Cover International Law Concentrate

1. The nature of international law and the international legal system  

This chapter briefly discusses the nature of the international legal system. The premise is that the structure of the international legal system is fundamentally different from that of national legal order: contrary to the vertical structure encountered in domestic settings, in international law the structure is horizontal. States enjoy sovereign equality, while both international law-making and international adjudication are based on the consent of the States. There are various theories that have attempted to describe the nature of the international law, including naturalism, positivism, formalism, and realism. Also significant is the the existence of a certain hierarchy in the international legal system, in the sense that there are some peremptory norms of international law, such as the prohibition of torture and genocide, to which there is no derogation.