Coherence is a fundamental concept which raises fierce debates among international law scholars and practitioners. Some regard coherence as a ‘pathological desire’; others view it as being inherent to (international) law. This chapter focuses on that political struggle and the views expressed in both international legal theory and practice. It first proposes a brief overview of the fundamental issues debated among legal theorists in relation to coherence and the content determination of the law. It then introduces and critically analyses the main arguments put forth by international legal theorists – mainly opponents – as to the relevance of coherence in discussion of the content determination of international law. Finally, it discusses coherence from the standpoint of international legal practice; more precisely, it focuses on international investment law, which, because of the features of its treaty and arbitration practices, provides an insightful case study to better grasp the concept.
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