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International law: Recent and upcoming events and initiatives at UCL Laws

IraRyk-Lakhman9 June 2017

This post covers several events and initiatives at UCL Laws concerning international law.

Book launch: ‘Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration’

On 1 June 2017 UCL Laws and the UCL Workshop Series on Investment Law and Policy (ILAP), in conjunction with Investment Arbitration Reporter held an event for the launch of the book ‘Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration‘ by Dr Jarrod Hepburn.

Domestic Law in International Investment Arbitration: About the book

Although domestic law plays an important role in investment treaty arbitration, this issue is little discussed or analysed. When should investment treaty tribunals engage with domestic law? How should investment treaty tribunals resolve matters of domestic law? These questions have significant ramifications for both the legitimacy of the investment treaty system and the arbitral mandate of the tribunal members. Drawing on case law, international law principles, and comparative analysis, this book addresses these important issues.

Part I of the book examines three areas of investment law-the ‘fair and equitable treatment’ standard, expropriation, and remedies-in which the role of domestic law has so far been under-appreciated. It argues that tribunals are justified in drawing on domestic law as a relevant factor in their rulings on these three issues. Part II of the book examines how questions of domestic law should be resolved in investment arbitration. It proposes a normative framework for use by tribunals in ascertaining the contents of the domestic law to be applied. It then considers counter-arguments, exemptions, and exceptions to applying this framework, and it evaluates how tribunals have ruled on questions of domestic law to date.

Investment treaty arbitration has endured much criticism in recent times, partly over fears of its encroachment on sovereignty. The book ultimately contends that closer attention by tribunals to one of the principal expressions of a state’s sovereignty-the elaboration of its domestic law-will reduce criticism of the field

Martins Paparinskis (UCL Laws) and Alison Macdonald (Matrix Chambers) served as discussants; the event was chaired by Lauge Poulsen (UCL Political Science).

Current Legal Problems lecture: ‘The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World’

On 8 June 2017, the Current Legal Problems lecture series hosted Professor Scott Shapiro, who presented his book project (co-authored with  Professor Oona Hathaway), ‘The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World‘. The event was chaired by Professor George Letsas (UCL Laws).

The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World: About the book

On a hot summer afternoon in 1928, the leaders of the world assembled in Paris to outlaw war. Within the year, the treaty signed that day, known as the Peace Pact, had been ratified by nearly every state in the world. War, for the first time in history, had become illegal the world over. But the promise of that summer day was fleeting. Within a decade of its signing, each state that had gathered in Paris to renounce war was at war. And in the century that followed, the Peace Pact was dismissed as an act of folly and an unmistakable failure. This book argues that that understanding is inaccurate, and that the Peace Pact ushered in a sustained march toward peace that lasts to this day.

The InternationalistIMG_20170609_113132s tells the story of the Peace Pact by placing it in the long history of international law from the seventeenth century through the present, tracing this rich history through a fascinating and diverse array of lawyers, politicians and intellectuals—Hugo Grotius, Nishi Amane, Salmon Levinson, James Shotwell, Sumner Welles, Carl Schmitt, Hersch Lauterpacht, and Sayyid Qutb. It tells of a centuries-long struggle of ideas over the role of war in a just world order. It details the brutal world of conflict the Peace Pact helped extinguish, and the subsequent era where tariffs and sanctions take the place of tanks and gunships.

The Internationalists examines with renewed appreciation an international system that has outlawed wars of aggression and brought unprecedented stability to the world map. Accessible and gripping, this book will change the way we view the history of the twentieth century—and how we must work together to protect the global order the internationalists fought to make possible.

 

Launch of a new journal: ‘Europe and the World: A Law Review’

On Monday, 19 June 2017, UCL Laws will hold an event to launch a new Journal, ‘Europe and the World – A Law Review’.

Prof. Miguel Poiares Maduro (EUI) will give the keynote speech and Caroline Wilson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) will chair the event. For more details and registration, see here.

About the journal

Europe and the World – A Law Review aims to contribute to legal scholarship on the place of Europe in the world, with a particular but by no means exclusive focus on the EU’s external relations law.

 The Journal serves as a forum where the national, international and EU perspectives meet and engage. The journal is therefore irreverent of traditional distinctions between EU, international, and national law. While primarily offering legal doctrinal and theoretical analyses, the journal also publishes multi-disciplinary work and political science and international relations contributions with an external perspective on the law of EU’s external relations.

The Journal includes 4 articles  and 1 editorial:

  • ‘Making Transnational Markets: The institutional politics behind the TTIP’, Marija Bartl.
  • ‘The EU and International Dispute Settlement’, Allan Rosas.
  • ‘Of Presidents, High Representatives and European Commissioners: The external representation of the European Union seven years after Lisbon’, Frank Hoffmeister.
  • ‘(Not) Losing Out from Brexit’, Annette Schrauwen.
  • Editorial

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Understanding Security Council Authority

GaianeNuridzhanian30 November 2016

Event summary

On 22 November 2016 Devika Hovell, Associate Professor in Public International Law at LSE, spoke at UCL. She discussed the authority of the UN Security Council (UNSC), and its nature. At the outset, the speaker observed that there was little interest among international lawyers, and even less so among the international organisation lawyers, in adopting theoretical approach to international law. Instead, the law of international organisations was developed by practitioners, often in a patchy manner and in response to specific practical challenges. In this process of development, it were the positivism and realism that guided and controlled the development of this legal discipline. In this regard, the speaker referred to Dworkin’s advice to lawyers and philosophers to improve ‘the jurisprudential discussion of international law’.

In pursuing her goal to develop a concept of the UNSC’s authority, Devika Hovell challenged two orthodoxies. The first orthodoxy, from the domain of international law, reflects the idea of State consent as a source of the UNSC authority. According to this positivist approach, the authority emanated from Articles 25 and 103 of the UN Charter that imposed on the States an obligation to comply with the UNSC decisions and established the primacy of the States’ obligations under the UN Charter. In the opinion of the speaker, the State consent based on a singular act of the State’s consent to the UN Charter, was not sufficient of a basis for the UNSC authority. The justification of such authority had to be more complex.

The second conventional wisdom that Dr Hovell sought to deconstruct concerned the jurisprudential domain. Under this orthodoxy, individual autonomy constitutes the ultimate source of the authority of international law, and thus it is the objective of safeguarding the individual autonomy that endowed international law with authority and State autonomy with value. However, in her opinion, this approach does not fully reflect the place of the State and the State interests in international law. It also does not take into account that international law commands authority over States, and not individuals. The individual autonomy-based approach can also be said to be unsuitable for explaining the authority of the UNSC since the latter is primarily focused on the collective responsibility in the face of common threats rather than on promotion of individual interests.

The authority of international law rests primarily on the belief and conviction of those to whom its rules are directed, that they have a role to play in the rule of law itself. Dr Hovell noted the view expressed by Sir Michael Wood in the course of the Iraq Inquiry. Addressing the comment that the absence of a court meant essentially that states could interpret Security Council resolutions as they wished, Sir Michael Wood replied that; “[T]he absence of a court, I think, is a reason for being more scrupulous […].

It is one thing for a lawyer to say, “Well, there is an argument here. Have a go. A court, a judge, will decide in the end”. It is quite different in the international system, where that’s usually not the case. You have a duty to the law, a duty to the system. You are setting precedents by the very fact of saying things and doing things.”

Dr Hovell proposed a grundnorm for the authority of the UNSC that would be based neither on State consent nor on individual authority, but will be grounded in the idea of ‘shared responsibility’. In this regard it is necessary to consider two aspects of the UN Security Council authority: ‘representativeness’ and ‘purposiveness’.

UN Security Council has often been criticised as being unrepresentative. Legitimising its authority would entail the idea that this authority is ‘shared’ with others. Although most theoretical accounts focus on authority held by a single actor, in contemporary international society there are multiple locations and levels of public authority and individuals are increasingly subjected to various overlapping authorities. There is thus a need to separate the authority from sovereignty as well as from the notion of exclusivity. Quoting the writings by Nicole Roughan, Dr Hovell referred to the concept of ‘relative authority’ which reflects the idea of isolation of authority from sovereign power ‘in order to consider its operation in circumstances of plurality’.

Dr Hovell concluded by noting that some have argued that the main problem with the UN Security Council does not lie in its lack of resources or unrepresentativeness, but rather in the lack of any agreement as to its purpose. In the speaker’s opinion, the purpose of the Security Council could not be spelled out in a document of a constitutional nature. Instead, Dr Hovell proposed a procedural and responsibility-based approach to the question of the legitimacy of the UNSC.