Chapter 1: History and nature of international law

A video tutorial from author Gleider Hernández introducing the topics in chapter 1 of International Law

Key points for reflection:

  • The 1648 Peace of Westphalia marks the modern understanding of international law’s development
  • Much of international law was rooted in European expansion from 1492 until 1914
  • European traditions of naturalism and positivism marked much of early international law’s development as a legal order and a profession
  • Today, these face increased scrutiny from other perspectives: e.g. feminism, TWAIL/post-colonialism, Marxian critiques, realism, and inter-disciplinary challenges
  • Key traits of international law rooted in its past:
    • sovereign equality between States,
    • non-interference in internal affairs,
    • a horizontal system of governance,
    • decentralised law-making procedures