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Part I The Histories of the Sources of International Law, s.VII Legal History as a Source of International law, Ch.13 Legal History as a Source of International Law: From Classical to Modern International Law

Robert Kolb

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: 23 September 2021

Ancient Times to 1648 — Choice of law — General principles of international law

This chapter examines to what extent ‘history’ can be considered a source of international law. It argues, in a classical way, that history is a material source of international law, though the chapter also examines some norms of positive international law which refer to historical facts. It first casts the question of history as a source of international law in its historical context. Classical international law, with its much greater emphasis on history as a factor of account, stands to by analysed, with reasons for the differences with today investigated. Hereafter, the chapter attends to the main expressions of ‘history as a source’ in the positive international law of today. Finally, the chapter considers the structural effects of historical facts and arguments on the interpreter.

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