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Chance, Order, Change: The Course of International Law

Posted on 17/06/2016

Symposium on ICJ Judge James Crawford's ‘Chance, Order, Change: The Course of International Law’.

A stimulating symposium was held at the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law on 13 June on ICJ Judge James Crawford's ‘Chance, Order, Change: The Course of International Law’. There were three panels chaired by Professor Tasioulas, each focussing on one of the book's three main parts.

Professor John Tasioulas said: ‘it was a wonderful event. We were most fortunate that Judge Crawford was present to respond to the commentaries and to take questions from the lively capacity audience.’

In the first panel, Professor David Caron addressed the themes of realism in international relations and the indeterminacy of international law, including their inter-connections. The other commentator, Dr Danae Azaria (UCL), focussed on Judge Crawford's innovative response to the ‘Baxter paradox’, which concerns the way in which treaty law relates to the opinio juris needed for the formation of customary international law.

In the second panel, Dr Sarah Nouwen (Cambridge) provided a very entertaining Lacanian-inspired analysis of Part two of the book, which ended with a video of a Dutch song, in homage to Judge Crawford's new place of domicile. Dr Christoph Kletzer provided a rousing defence of Kelsenian monism against Judge Crawford's affirmation of a pluralist conception of the relationship between the international and domestic legal orders.

In the third panel, Professor Guglielmo Verdirame placed Judge Crawford's work within the context of two variants of critical theory - Boston versus Frankfurt, finding Crawford's approach more closely aligned to the latter in its commitment to objective reason and dialectical method. Professor McCorquodale gave the concluding comment, which was a strong critique of Judge Crawford's scepticism about the idea of an international rule of law, focussing in particular on the assumption that the rule of law includes a requirement of democratic governance. The proceedings were enlivened throughout by Judge Crawford's illuminating responses to the commentators and other participants.

See photos from the event on Flickr.

Visit the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law webpages for further information about the Centre.

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