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The Sources of International Law: An Introduction

Samantha Besson, Jean D’Aspremont

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law

Edited By: Jean d'Aspremont, Samantha Besson

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 September 2021

Choice of law — Treaty provisions

This introductory chapter offers a brief overview on the sources of international law. It first highlights the importance of and the controversies surrounding the sources of international law, touching upon the nature, legality, normativity, and legitimacy of international law, as well as the sites and tools of its contestation. The chapter then turns to the historical origins of the sources of international law, asserting that the sources of international law are in fact a product of the Enlightenment project and, arguably, of the liberal doctrine of politics. Finally, the chapter takes a look at how the dominant adherence to the sources of international law has been accompanied by constant contestation among international lawyers about their origins, criteria, functions, unity, and hierarchy. The chapter concludes with a brief summary of the following chapters.

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