Non-Legality in International Law

5 February 2013

SCILis delighted to announce the publication of Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law (Cambridge University Press, 2013) by Centre Co-Director, Associate Professor Fleur Johns.

Non-Legality in International Law is an unprecedented study of that which international lawyers cast outside or against law- as extra-legal, illegal, pre-legal or otherwise non-legal- and how their doing so comes to shape political possibility. Non-legality is not merely the remainder of regulatory action, this book reveals. It is a key structuring device of contemporary global order and legal thought.

Professor David Kennedy (Harvard) describes this as a 'fantastic book- at once a serious contribution to legal theory and a fascinating read...[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.' Professor Susan Marks (LSE) finds the book 'revelatory', '[b]eautifully written and full of sparkling examples' and notes that it 'reconfigures the landscape of international legal thought in profound and irrevocable ways'. Professor Annelise Riles (Cornell) characterises the book as 'magisterial', '[e]rudite yet original, bold yet meticulously defended'. Riles writes that the book 'points the way toward a new future for international legal studies', 'mak[ing] a new kind of sense out of an astonishing range of fields' in a way 'that is both critical and hopeful, in the highest sense of both terms'. According to Dr. Ralph Wilde (UCL), this is a book 'of fundamental significance for the discipline of international law'.

In a series of case studies, the book makes forays into some of the most heated of contemporary political controversies. It shows how lawyers' 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 in these policy settings, this book shows. Tracing and potentially reimagining the non-legal in international legal work is, accordingly, both vital and pressing.

Dr. Fleur Johns is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Sydney and Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law.

Copies of the book are available for purchase, and review copies may be obtained, at Details of the book's official launch at Sydney Law School will be released in due course.