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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2022
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Book description

The UN Security Council and International Law explores the legal powers, limits and potential of the United Nations Security Council, offering a broadly positive (and positivist) account of the Council's work in practice. This book aims to answer questions such as 'when are Council decisions binding and on whom?', 'what legal constraints exist on Council decision making?' and 'how far is the Council bound by international law?'. Defining the controlling legal rules and differentiating between what the Council can do, as opposed to what it should do as a matter of policy, this book offers both a tool for assessment of the Council as well as realistic solutions to address its deficiencies, and, most importantly, evaluates its potential for maintaining international peace and security, to the benefit of us all.


‘Whether you have an academic interest in the UN Security Council, happen to be a journalist seeking reliable background information about it, or simply want to know how the Council works and why it so frequently stays short of our expectations - from now on there is no better way of finding out than reaching for this sharp, crystal-clear book written by prominent insiders.’

Bruno Simma - Former Judge at the International Court of Justice, Founding editor of the German Commentary on the UN Charter

‘This exceptionally well-organized and persuasive book by two noted legal scholars (and frequent, much sought-after, practitioners) on the UN Security Council’s powers and wider role in international law, a much contested field, will set the standard for at least the coming generation.’

David M. Malone - Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

‘Wood and Sthoeger elegantly parse the voluminous practice of the U.N. Security Council to explain its most salient characteristics in relation to international law, notably its nature, process, power, limits, and law-making role. Through copious and compelling examples, the sometimes-obscure legal functions of this important political organ are thoughtfully revealed.’

Sean D. Murphy - Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, George Washington University; Member, U.N. International Law Commission

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