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Non-Legality in International Law
Unruly Law

$31.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Author: Fleur Johns, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107521834

$ 31.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • International lawyers typically start with the legal. What is a legal as opposed to a political question? How should international law adapt to the unforeseen? These are the routes by which international lawyers typically reason. This book begins, instead, with the non-legal. In a series of case studies, Fleur Johns examines what international lawyers cast outside or against law – as extra-legal, illegal, pre-legal or otherwise non-legal – and how this comes to shape political possibility. Non-legality is not merely the remainder of regulatory action. It is a key structuring device of contemporary global order. Constructions of non-legality are pivotal to debate in areas ranging from torture to foreign investment and from climate change to natural disaster relief. Understandings of non-legality inform what international lawyers today do and what they refrain from doing. Tracing and potentially reimagining the non-legal in international legal work is, accordingly, both vital and pressing.

    • Uses conventional legal sources to address some unconventional questions and draw some uncomfortable connections
    • Illuminates lawyers' roles in sustaining violence and power that international law commonly purports to counter or contain
    • Draws novel connections among international legal regimes, including the fields of human rights, international economic law and international environmental law
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "A fantastic book - at once a serious contribution to legal theory and a fascinating read. 'The exception makes the rule' we say - Johns turns that around. How does law make, un-make and manage the exception? It has become routine to find war in the filigrees of peace. Johns finds the managerial work of law in all that seems beyond its reach - the illegal, the political, the economic and the barbaric. Johns proposes a powerful new agenda for research and a caution about the common wish that all might be well were law finally 'brought to bear'. Law she tells us, is already there."
    David Kennedy, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School

    "Beautifully written and full of sparkling examples, this book reconfigures the landscape of international legal thought in profound and irrevocable ways."
    Susan Marks, London School of Economics and Political Science

    "This magisterial book points the way toward a new future for international legal studies. Erudite yet original, bold yet meticulously defended, this is a text that is both critical and hopeful, in the highest sense of both terms."
    Annelise Riles, Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law in Far East Legal Studies, Cornell University Law School

    "An outstandingly rich, nuanced and well written critical treatment of the way in which international law’s treatment of conditions as marginal plays a significant role in the understanding and structuring of such conditions."
    Ralph Wilde, Reader in Law, University College London

    "Non-Legality in International Law is as successful as it is ambitious … Johns charts the path, not only toward a productive research agenda for critically minded scholars of international law, but also toward a more self-conscious, less anxious, and more experimental approach to international legal practice."
    John T. Parry, Law and Society Review

    "… disturbs assumptions about what we understand as ‘real law’, while providing openings for new ways of thinking about and governing through and beyond legislated or judge-made law … makes an important contribution. This is not simply because it extends and refines analysis of ‘excluded legalities’ beyond the areas that have been the main focus of similar work - although, in itself, this is a major contribution to socio-legal scholarship. Rather, it is because it makes so clear the consequences of such exclusion for scholarship that seeks to engage with political action … This book has implications for all socio-legal analysis and practice."
    Pat O’Malley, Current Issues in Criminal Justice

    "… an intriguing and ambitious critique of the way in which international law scholars and practitioners are constrained to understand the effect that non-legality has in generating new, normative conceptions of international law … is likely to inspire robust debate within the international and comparative academic community."
    Christopher P. Banks, Law and Politics Book Review

    "… [Johns'] approach is deeply informed by contributions from a variety of fields ranging from cultural anthropology and sociology to comparative law and science and technology studies. But her book forges new conceptual ground through her focus on the non-legal - that is, "the before, the after, the below, the above, the against and the despite, which international legal work ceaselessly evokes"."
    Eudes Lopes,

    "In a most novel, interesting and compelling way, Fleur Johns’s new book, Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law, tests the question of the boundedness of law and legal practice and the possibilities of critique … the book is an exemplar of what it might be possible to think in international law and invites further reflection on what it might be possible to do."
    Richard Joyce, Leiden Journal of International Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107521834
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Making non-legalities in international law
    2. Illegality and the torture memos
    3. Black holes and the outside within: extra-legality at Guantánamo
    4. Doing deals: pre- and post-legal choice in transnational financing
    5. Receiving climate change: law, science and supra-legality
    6. Death, disaster and infra-legality in international law

  • Author

    Fleur Johns, University of New South Wales, Sydney
    Fleur Johns is an Associate Professor at the Sydney Law School, University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law.

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