This chapter examines the concept of State failure from the perspective of international law as it concerns the facilitation, regulation, and occasionally the degradation of global security. International law, in this context, is primarily conceptualized as an enabler for security-informed responses to the phenomenon of State failure. International law approaches State failure from the perspective of restorative legal and institutional facilitation, with a structural predilection for a State-centric security framework. This has resulted in the nexus between ‘State failure’ and international law being dominated by two interlinked purposes: (1) promoting the normative continuity of ‘Stateness’ for failed entities; and (2) managing the transition back to a minimum level of stable ‘Stateness’ with the least harm to the population and the international community. Ultimately, international law’s approach to State failure is primarily one of remedy, not of acceptance. The chapter seeks to evolve a working definition of ‘State failure’ from an international law perspective and assesses the adequacy of selected modes and indicators by which international law may recognize State failure.
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