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Comparative International Law$
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Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan, Pierre-Hugues Verdier, and Mila Versteeg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190697570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190697570.001.0001

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Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law, and Fragmentation

Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law, and Fragmentation

Can the Center Hold?

(p.53) 3 Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law, and Fragmentation
Comparative International Law

Paul B. Stephan

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the rise of foreign relations law as a way of thinking about the legal dimensions of international relations. It connects this development to the emergence of comparative international law and anxieties about fragmentation in international law. Each of these fields challenges conventional ways of thinking about international law and thus seems to bolster those who would dismiss international law as irrelevant or ineffectual. The chapter proceeds in three sections. The first describes contemporary foreign relations law as a distinct field that emerged in the United States in the late 1990s and developed independently in parts of the British Commonwealth and Europe. It traces the parallels with and differences between foreign relations law and comparative international law. The second section considers the possibility these complementary trends, as well as concerns about fragmentation, pose a threat to international law as conventionally conceived. The third section responds to these concerns.

Keywords:   foreign relations law, fragmentation, comparative international law, international relations, international law

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