The acquisition of territory in international law

With a new introduction by Marcelo G. Kohen

By R. Y. Jennings

The acquisition of territory in international law


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1717-5
  • Pages: 168
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £26.00
  • Published Date: April 2017
  • BIC Category: Law, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, International law, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Geopolitics, LAW / International, Society & social sciences / Diplomacy, Society & social sciences / Geopolitics, Law / International law
  • Series: Melland Schill Classics in International Law


Originally published by Manchester University Press in 1963, this book is now regarded as a classic of international law literature. Jennings examines the major issues relating to the acquisition of territory in a stimulating and elegant manner, providing a sense of the critical relationship between law and politics on the international scene - vital if law is to be practiced and interpreted correctly.

This reissue features a new introduction by Marcelo G. Kohen of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, contextualising the work and discussing its continued relevance to students of international law and international lawyers themselves. He is one of the leading experts on questions of acquisition of territory, having been involved in numerous territorial disputes before the International Court of Justice.


'Unbelievably easy to read. Elegant and perceptive, The Acquisition of Territory examines the major issues relating to the acquisition of territory in international law in a stimulating, easily digestible yet enormously profound way.'

Malcolm N. Shaw, University of Leicester


New Introduction by Marcelo G. Kohen

I. Territorial Change
The Nature of Territorial Sovereignty
The Meaning of Title
The Procedures of Territorial Change
Boundary Disputes

II. The Modes of Acquisition
Occupation and Prescription
Historical Consolidation of Title
Intertemporal Law
The Critical Date

III. Recognition, Acquiescence and Estoppel
Estoppel and Recognition
Estoppel and Acquiescence
The Temple Case

IV. Title and Unlawful Force
Forcible Self-help

V. Legal Claims and Political Claims
Political Claim or Legal Title?
Geographical Considerations
Historical Continuity
Procedures for Political Decisions Respecting Territory



Marcelo Kohen is Professor of International Law at the Institut de Droit International

The late Sir Robert Yewdall Jennings (1913-2004) became a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge in 1939, and was appointed as the Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge in 1955. He resigned from this chair in 1982 when he was elected as a judge of the International Court of Justice where he served until his retirement in 1995. He was President of the Court from 1991 to 1994.

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