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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: April 2019

Preface

Summary

Since the second edition of this book was published in 2014 there have been continual developments in international law through State practice, new treaties and an expanding international jurisprudence developed by a growing array of international courts and tribunals. For example, in 2016 an international tribunal handed down a much anticipated Award in the South China Sea Case between the Philippines and China, which provided clarity to certain aspects of the law of the sea, and to some dimensions of the law relating to international dispute resolution. Likewise, in 2018 a Conciliation Commission will deliver a report arising from a dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste over a maritime boundary in the Timor Sea. In 2015 the international community was finally able to achieve consensus on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the form of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Throughout 2017 the United Nations Security Council was also responding to the threats posed to international peace and security by North Korea's nuclear program and new Resolutions were adopted to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security. These developments have resulted in a continual thickening of international law, with the consequence that some gaps in the law have been covered, understanding of the law has been enhanced, and adjudication and enforcement of international law have added to a better appreciation and understanding of its capacity.

This third edition takes stock of some of these and other important recent developments in international law. Challenges such as climate change, crimes against humanity, human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation, resource management, self-determination of peoples, and transnational crimes such as people smuggling are considered. These challenges have caused States, international organisations and the international community more generally to reconsider some of the foundational concepts and principles of international law, and whether new approaches to these and other emerging challenges to the international order are required.

This work seeks to assess these issues from a traditional international lawyer's perspective, but also one that considers appropriate Australian State practice. While international law is a truly global discipline, we believe there is much to be gained from examining, where appropriate, Australian viewpoints and practice in international law and that tradition has been continued in this edition.