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Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law, 8th Edition by Crawford, James R (27th September 2012) [OLD EDITION]

Preface to the Seventh Edition

From: Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law (8th Edition)

James R Crawford

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From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Subscriber: null; date: 06 December 2019

Changes have occurred in many areas of the law since the last edition of this book. Care has been taken to renovate the treatment of a number of topics, including jurisdictional immunities, the responsibility of states, indirect expropriation, international criminal justice and informal extradition.

At the same time, the procedure of renovation has been accompanied by certain inhibitions stemming from the inherent nature of a single volume treatment of the principles of public international law. The temptation to include a detailed treatment of recent complex events (the invasion and occupation of Iraq, for example) has been resisted. To deal adequately with such events would involve excursions well beyond the ambit of a legal handbook. If the situation of Iraq be taken as an example, the limitations can be seen immediately. In the first place, the determination of the material facts would involve considerable difficulty. Secondly, there is the central problem which is the tendency of the State actors to adopt convenient suppositions of fact, this tendency leading to the risk of positing a State practice based upon fiction.

The recent episodes of unilateralism have usually involved law-breaking rather than the development of the law, and it is inappropriate to appear to characterise law-breaking actions as ‘precedents’ or ‘practice’. The book continues to present an analysis of the principles of public international law when the law is being applied in a framework of normality.

The new text reflects the substantial case law of the International Court of Justice and the recent work of the International Law Commission.

I would thank the Hague Academy of International Law and Mr Steven van Hoogstraten for his permission to make use of some passages of my General Course delivered in 1995 and published by the Academy under the title The Rule of Law in International Affairs (pp. 65–74) in 1998. I would also like to thank the staff of Oxford University Press, and in particular Rebecca Gleave and Rekha Summan, for their care and consideration. I am grateful for assistance received from Lavonne Pierre and Adam Sloane of Blackstone Chambers.

Finally, my thanks go to my wife for her assistance.


Blackstone Chambers