How to defend international legal method?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, I defend the idea of a distinctive methodology for doing international legal research. This methodology might be too easily dismissed as simply “doctrinal” in character: as unreflexive and theoretically impoverished. However, I will use theory, and specifically a normative commitment to the international rule of law - to international “legality” - to defend the systemic (and thus methodological) autonomy of international law. Nevertheless, my aim is also to show an inherent tension in this claim to autonomy, which is capable of being understood in both formal (non-instrumental) and more purposive (instrumental) terms, leading to an intrinsic push and pull between competing legitimacy claims. However, I also show how this structures international legal method, requiring international lawyers in particular to carefully navigate these competing claims, whilst ensuring that ends cannot fully displace means, thus undermining the integrity of the international legal order overall.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Methods in International Law. A Handbook
EditorsRossana Deplano, Nicholas Tsagourias
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781788972369
ISBN (Print)9781788972352
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Research Methods in Law


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