International Law by Vaughan Lowe

AuthorStephen Allen
Publication Date01 Mar 2009
propounded at the start the n the whole edi¢ce comes tumbli ng down, or at least
loses its appeal. However, even for thosereaders who do not accept the account of
justice o¡ered at the start (and I am sure there will be many, since this is a highly
contentious area of moral and politicalphilosophy) there remains plentyof inter-
est. For not only is seeing how the implications of this view play out in practice a
worthwhile exercise, but the book also contains numerous arguments (some of
the responses to the detractors of con¢scation and sale, for example) that are
freestandi ng and could be used even if the rights -based theory of justice were
Va u g h a n L o we , International Law,Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, 298
pp, pb d19.9 9 .
The Clarendon Law Series is an exemplary series ofi ntroductory texts. Itstitles seek
to provide a solid framework through which readers can understa nd the core
principles and issues of a given ¢eld of law while whetting their appetites for
further scholarly enquiry. The broad range of existing titles made the absence of
a book on public international law surprising. Thankfully, this omission has now
been supplied by the publication of the present book. As Chichel e Professor of
Public International Law at Oxford Universityand a practising Queen’s Counsel,
the author is particularly well-quali¢ed to comment upon the central principles
of international law and the current issues shaping the ¢eld. In the Preface, Lowe
declares that the aim of the book is to provide ‘an introduction to international
law of the kind that might be helpful for a student to read in the vacation before
starting to study the subject, or for the interested lay reader’. Accordingly, he cau-
tions that this‘is a book about international law, not a book of international law
(4). Nevertheless, while Lowes work is certainly accessible to those unfamiliar
with the workings of the international legal system it is also su⁄ciently nuanced
to satisfy more seasoned scholars.
The book is divided into eightsubstantive chapters. It contains chapters on tra-
ditional subjects such as the sources of international law, statehood, jurisdiction
and the use of force. However, Lowe also introduces readers to a number of areas
that were considered to be of marginal importance to mainstream international
lawyers until very recently. In particular, the decision to include coverage of the
regulation of the international economy and global environmental issues is com-
mendableas it encourages readers to re£ecton the interrelationship between these
relatively recent sites of legal concern and more established areas of international
law. Thebook’s selective approach tothe substantiveareas of law is consistent with
its purpose of revealing the workings of the international legal system. Giventhe
burgeoning literature that now accompanies virtually every sub-¢eld of interna-
tional law (andthe wealth of information available via the internet) this approach
School of Law, Keele University
316 r2009 The Authors.Journal Compilation r200 9 The ModernLaw Review Limited.
(2009) 72(2) 313^329

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