The publications below represent a recent selection of the work of staff members of MILC. For a full list of each staff member's publications, please refer to their profile. 

The Discourse on Customary International Law

Jean d'Aspremont

Along with treaties, custom is one of the sources of international law. It is known to consist of two elements: state practice and opinio juris. While many studies have looked at traditional questions of how to identify customary law, this book takes a new and original approach. It looks instead at the structure of thought that lies beneath the arguments about customary international law. By examining these structures, the book uncovers surprising conclusions, and demonstrates what the author describes as the 'discursive splendour' of customary international law.

The book guides the reader through an analysis of eight distinct performances at work in the discourse on customary international law. One of its key claims is that customary international law is not the surviving trace of an ancient law-making mechanism that used to be found in traditional societies. Indeed, as is shown throughout, customary international law is anything but ancient, and there is hardly any doctrine of international law that contains so many of the features of modern thinking. It is also argued that, contrary to mainstream opinion, customary international law is in fact shaped by texts, and originates from a textual environment. This book provides an engaging account of customary international law, whilst challenging readers to rethink their understanding of this fundamental part of the discipline.

The Law of Global Governance: Understanding the Institutional Architecture & Practices of Epidemic Governance

Gail Lythgoe 

In Epidemics and International Law by The Hague Academy of International Law, Centre for Studies and Research Programme, Brill 2021

Perhaps it is the very real and urgent existential threat to countless lives posed by pandemics that creates the conditions for some of the most significant innovations in international cooperation and organisation to emerge in the field of health. Or perhaps “most irksome” is the “disastrous hindrance to international commerce” that efforts to combat epidemics entail.

Regardless of the motivation, the most recent pandemic is no exception. Efforts to combat Covid-19 has prompted several new ad hoc, as well as permanent, institutional developments which further entrench the altered nature of international organisations and institutions – including the increasing turn to public-private partnerships – seen in this field in recent decades.

Drone Programs, the Individualization of War and the Ad Bellum Principle of Proportionality

Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi

in Lieber Series Vol. 4, Claus Kreß & Robert Lawless (eds.) Necessity and Proportionality in International Peace and Security Law (Oxford University Press, 2020) 

Necessity and proportionality hold a firm place in the international law governing the use of force by states, as well as in the law of armed conflict. However, the precise contours of these two requirements are uncertain and controversial. The aim of Necessity and Proportionality in International Peace and Security Law is to explore how necessity and proportionality manifest themselves in the modern world under the law governing the use of force and the law of armed conflict, and how they relate to each other.