Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann
Chapter 3: Regulating treaties: A comparative perspective
Legal concepts of domestic law profoundly influence the way one approaches and conceptualizes international law. James Crawford has observed that ‘it cannot be said too often that our thinking about law is infiltrated, marinated, drenched with the influence of national legal systems, with their characteristic ways of enforcing obligations and vindicating rights. We were all national lawyers first’. That is surely right (although the trend towards specialization that erodes the authority of generalists might also eventually expunge the memory of the domestic origins of the invisible college). The domestic law perspective applies with particular force to international treaties that combine a consensual form, prima facie reminiscent of the structure employed in the domestic law of contracts, with a substantive breadth, prima facie extending beyond the legal relationships that would be addressed by the law of contracts in domestic law. This chapter will attempt to explore the tension between underlying assumptions about the appropriateness of domestic analogies.
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