Lecture 2.doc

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24 Apr 2012

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Lecture 2: 09/22/10
Rights are presented as being individual, absolute, and free from implying
responsibility, neglect of civil society –the American version of rights talk does not
reflect what American’s really know
1. Thinking like a lawyer
2. Public international law
3. Rights
Thinking like a lawyer requires one to look at things in a particular way
The two sources of domestic law are: statutes and judicial decisions
- The study of law is in fact the study of statutes and judicial decisions
“The law is a distinctive manner of imagining the real” – there are no answers in law,
just arguments
International law is like a tennis match: there are always multiple arguments to
support and undermine each side of a case
- The invasion of Iraq was contrary to…
- On the other hand, it was consistent with
- However, also…
We must choose the best sources (some are better than others) – the essence of
international law is arguments (good arguments that reference the right documents,
statutes, treaties, laws, etc.)
Private International Law:
In private international law, there is a conflict of laws for different jurisdictions
(different, competing domestic laws)
It involves private parties (people, corporations) not states
Issues are often about where (in what jurisdiction) a trial will take place and which
jurisdiction’s laws are going to apply (sometimes the applicable law is not where the
trial will take place) – ex. Garbage trafficking between Canada and the US
Public International Law
The actors are not individuals but states (with some exceptions)
The sources of public international law are:
a) Treaties: is there a treaty that applies to the issue?
b) Customs: what states do (customary international law includes binding Security
Council resolutions)
c) The International Court of Justice
d) Doctrine (natural law…)
We must include all sources of international law when discussing cases
Public international law: the collection of treaties and doctrines purporting to govern
nations’ conduct since the 17th century (purporting because nations do not always act
according to international law)
The law that governs or ought to govern international law
Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)
Founder of public international law
His writings preceded the Treaty of Westphalia
30 Years War (1618-1648)
The problem that precipitated international public law
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