International Law: A Very Short Introduction

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/1/2016
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Interest in international law has increased greatly over the past decade, largely because of its key role in such hot-button issues such as the Iraq War and Guantanamo, the World Trade Organization and the anti-capitalist movement, the Kyoto Convention on climate change, the apparent failure of the international system to deal with dire situations in Palestine and Darfur, and the plight of refugees and illegal immigrants around the world.

This Very Short Introduction explains what international law is, what its role in international society is, and how it operates. Dispelling many of the myths surrounding the topic, Vaughan Lowe clearly outlines what international law can and cannot do and what it is and what it isn't doing to make the world a better place. Lowe focuses on the problems the world faces, using terrorism, environmental change, poverty, and international violence to demonstrate the theory and practice of international law, and showing how these principles can be used for international co-operation.

The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Author Biography

Vaughan Lowe is the Chichele Professor of Public International Law and a Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford. He was formerly Reader in International Law and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge. Before that he taught at the universities of Cardiff and Manchester and, as a visiting professor, in the USA. He practices as a barrister from Essex Court Chambers, London. He has advised governments and corporations on matters of international law, and is the author of many books and articles on the subject, of which the most recent are The Law of the Sea (3rd ed., MUP, 1999; with Robin Churchill) and The Settlement of International Disputes (OUP, 1999; with John Collier).

Table of Contents

1: Nations Under Law
2: Where does international law come from?
3: Freedom from external interference
4: Sovereignty inside the State
5: What international law does well
6: What international law does badly (or not at all)
Further Reading
1. Laws are optional
2. International law and poverty
3. International law and the environment
4. International law and international violence
5. International law, terrorism and international crime
6. States, governments and real people
7. How useful is the law

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