Introduction

Randall Lesaffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Since the 1960s and more particularly since the end of the Cold War, interest in the history of international law has greatly increased among international lawyers and legal historians alike. Nevertheless, as an academic discipline, it is still lagging behind compared to most other branches of legal history. Recent efforts cannot be expected to make up for the neglect the field has suffered during most of the past two centuries. The causes of the traditional neglect of the history of international law are many and much debated. Paramount among them is – or was? – the dominance of national states and national law. This caused lawyers and legal historians to concentrate on internal legal developments. Moreover, in the heyday of state sovereignty, the binding character of public international law came to be disputed or even denied, which surely caused legal historians to turn away from its study. Notwithstanding the efforts of many scholars from all over the world during recent decades, the study of international law is still lagging behind the field. Fundamental methodological questions have not been answered or even seriously debated. Most of the sources – even the most important ones like treaties – still await modern, critical editions. The vast majority of recent scholarship still tends to concentrate, as it has been the case before, on doctrine and not on legal practice. And above all, most of the endeavours of recent years have been individual.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPeace treaties and international law in European history
    Subtitle of host publicationFrom the late middle ages to World War One
    EditorsRandall Lesaffer
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Pages1-6
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511494239
    ISBN (Print)9780521827249
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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    Lesaffer, R. (2004). Introduction. In R. Lesaffer (Ed.), Peace treaties and international law in European history: From the late middle ages to World War One (pp. 1-6). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511494239.001