Theoretical perspectives on the divide between international law and national law
09 / 2002 - 12 / 2004
This sub-project explores alternative theoretical perspectives on the relationship between international law and national law. In recent decades, the increase in practical relevance of the relationship between the international legal order and the national legal order has been paralleled by a decline in attention for the theoretical aspects of this relationship. Modern scholarship has turned pragmatic, inductive, and largely anti-theoretical. Most modern textbooks consider that the dogmatic dispute on the issues of monism and dualism is now irrelevant, that international law has nothing to say on the matter except for the rule that a state cannot invoke national law to justify non-compliance with international law, and that otherwise one simply has to turn to national law. This pragmatic approach has come with a cost. Whatever the pitfalls of the theoretical conceptions of monism and dualism, they provided observers with a perspective to understand the relationship between international and national law and, in their normative dimensions, with a view as to the direction in which that relationship should evolve. The increasing interactions between international and national law in practice are reasons to revive the theoretical debate on the relationship between international law and national law. Against this background, this project explores alternative theoretical perspectives on the relationship between international law and national law.