The Creation of States as a Cardinal Point: James Crawford's Contribution to International Legal Scholarship

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This paper argues that The Creation of States in International Law discloses a unique mode of engaging in international legal reasoning. That approach is characterised by three intellectual commitments, each of which is representative of James Crawford’s broader legal thought. Undertaking a self-consciously normative form of interpretive excavation, the paper contends that Crawford was committed to: 1) cautious optimism about the determinacy of international law; 2) the value of nuance and context when making legal judgements; and 3) the normative importance of humanity as a heuristic principle. It then establishes these commitments as interpretive guidelines that can be used to analyse emergent legal problems. The paper concludes with consideration of the threat posed to Small Island States by rising sea levels, arguing that the spirit of Crawford’s intellectual contribution supports their legal resilience and survivability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-88
Number of pages22
JournalThe Australian Year Book of International Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© Alex Green, 2023

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