The decay of international law

A reappraisal of the limits of legal imagination in international affairs, With a new introduction

By Anthony Carty

The decay of international law


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2792-1
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: September 2019
  • BIC Category: Law / International law, LAW / International, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, Law / General, Society & social sciences / International relations, International Relations, LAW / General
  • Series: Melland Schill Studies in International Law


Originally published in 1986 this book has become a classic of international law literature. It was a penetrating critique of the methodology of international law as it had come to be understood and accepted by the generality of international lawyers. It called for a realisation of the crucial role which international lawyers should play in reflecting in the nature and implications of the principles and arguments used by governments and other actors in the international stage. It called for a positive legal analysis of international issues. This edition comes with a new 10,000 word introduction that will put the original work it in its proper historical context. New generations of international legal scholars who did not read Carty in the 1980s and who have had little chance to do so since then because of the book's unavailability will show a great deal of interest in delving into the thoughts of one of the most influential critical legal thinkers.


New Series Editor foreword - Jean d'Aspremont and Iain Scobbie
New introduction - Anthony Carty

Foreword to original - Gillian M. White
Preface to original - Anthony Carty

1 Introduction: a crisis of method in international law
2 Legal doctrine and the development of international legal concepts
3 General customary law
4 Doctrinal conceptions of the law relating to territory
5 'Pure' theories of treaty law: a world without diplomacy
6 Legal doctrine, the principle of non-intervention and the practice of States
7 Legal method, the 'state of nature' and some contemporary issues of



Tony Carty is Professor of International Law at the School of Law at the Beijing Institute of Technology

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