Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 September 2012
Normally a preface will give a list of the names of friends who have taken the trouble to read drafts of the manuscript, but I have found myself spontaneously adopting a slightly different and, I believe, more rigorous course. In the final stages of writing, over the last two years or so, I have accepted offers to participate in workshops where I could attempt a dry run of my ideas. As a consequence the work has had considerable feedback, but a price of participation is that versions of parts of the work have been published or are being published.
This book is in a remote sense a sequel to The Decay of International Law published by Manchester University Press in 1986. It takes up some of the themes of the first book: the contested role of legal doctrine, the problematic character of custom as a source of law, and the relationship of the state to the nation in the theory of international legal personality. However, on this occasion attention is devoted less to a critique of international lawyers and more to a rethinking of the tasks an international lawyer might undertake. There is here a real effort to break free of what I regard as irrelevant categories of thinking, although this always carries with it the risk that the discipline no longer recognizes what one is doing and reacts rather forcefully – this is what I mean by feedback.
For instance, I presented the first fifteen pages of Chapter 1 of the present book at a conference of French and Spanish international lawyers at Palma, Majorca, in May 2005.