Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brunnée & Toope: An Interactional Theory of International Legal Obligation

Jutta Brunnée (Univ. of Toronto - Law) & Stephen J. Toope (Univ. of British Columbia) have posted An Interactional Theory of International Legal Obligation (in Legitimacy and Persuasion in International Law, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
This chapter forms part of a forthcoming book in which we provide a theoretical framework for international law and then apply it in concrete settings, ranging from the law on the use of force to international environmental law. In this first chapter, we set out an interactional theory of international legal obligation. Our theory draws on Lon Fuller's theory of law combined with insights of constructivist international relations theory, in particular Emanuel Adler's work on communities of practice. The theory that we articulate is rooted in three central arguments. First, legal norms can only arise in the context of social norms based on shared understandings. Second, internal features of law, which we call criteria of legality, are crucial to law's ability to promote adherence, or to inspire "fidelity." Third, legal norms are built, maintained, and sometimes destroyed through a continuing practice of legality.