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Rossana Deplano

In the past few years, it has become increasingly self-evident that the research methodologies of international law can no longer be confined to pure normative and doctrinal analysis. They need to be complemented by interdisciplinary approaches. Indeed, a new generation of scholars is engaging in pioneering empirical and socio-legal studies in fields as diverse as arbitration, international economic law and international courts and tribunals. I believe we are witnessing a wave of change within the international legal academia and the chapters featuring in this collection are testament to that paradigm shift, being themselves instances of cuttingedge research in the socio-legal and empirical law fields. Empirical, socio-legal and, in general, interdisciplinary analyses of international legal issues now abound. Technological advancements greatly facilitate the ongoing transition to a pluralist approach to research methods in international law, at the same time allowing use of specialized, yet user-friendly, computer software for empirical investigation and increasing the availability of online materials to conduct doctrinal analysis through ever faster and comprehensive databases.

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Rossana Deplano

The contributions in this book have examined a range of international law issues utilizing non-doctrinal research methods, both quantitative and qualitative. Individual chapters have demonstrated how resort to non-doctrinal methods produces findings which are distinct from, but complementary to, those grounded on doctrinal analysis. Does this also demonstrate that the empirically grounded type of inquiry is ‘more scientific’ – hence, more precise – than the principled analysis of international law characterizing doctrinal research? Marija _or_eska explicitly calls for a more scientific approach to research with a view to proving or disproving axiomatic assumptions, such as the widely held view that the general principles of international law have domestic origins. Recourse to the inductive method of inquiry allowed her to single out and systematically classify general principles, eventually leading to the creation of the most comprehensive taxonomy of general principles of international law to date. She demonstrates that both the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have found evidence of general principles in both domestic and international law as well as judicial decisions. Hence, she argues that by methodically coding and classifying data, she arrived at a more scientific result. In this process, doctrinal analysis appears to have played no role, although the findings may well contribute to the development of the theory of the sources of international law.

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Pluralising International Legal Scholarship

The Promise and Perils of Non-Doctrinal Research Methods

Edited by Rossana Deplano

This unique book examines the role non-doctrinal research methods play in international legal research: what do they add to the traditional doctrinal analysis of law and what do they neglect? Focusing on empirical and socio-legal methods, it provides a critical evaluation of the breadth, scope and limits of the representation of international law created by these often-neglected methodologies.