Law, Society, and Economy: Centenary Essays for the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1895-1995

By Richard Rawlings | Go to book overview

9
The Reformation in International Law*

JUDGE ROSALYN HIGGINS

My intention in this essay is to demonstrate the deep commitment of the LSE during its first century to international law and to show that during this 100 years we have witnessed, and are witnessing, a reformation in the subject.

It is a commonplace to trace international law from the earliest organization of society, through the Greek city states, the early Italian cities, the break-up of the Roman Empire into independent states, with mention of course of the birth of Grotius in 1583 and the dawn of modern international law. Certainly the subject was well established by the time that the School opened its doors in 1895. Indeed, there were no fewer than eighteen English language treatises of which I am aware appearing at the turn of the century. Hall celebrated Treatise on International Law was by 1904 already in its fifth edition.1 And although about half of such tomes was often directed at the laws of war, and the rapid development of the myriad facets of the laws of peace was only beginning, there already existed a considerable body of law. Lawrence Principles of International Law of 18982 ran to 645 pages. The turn of the century edition of Hall was some 764 pages. Writing at the very beginning of the twentieth century, Westlake3 and Oppenheim4 each required two volumes to tell the tale.

From the outset international law has had an important place in the life of the LSE. The School has produced some of its most outstanding servants. But in the otherwise admirable centenary history of the School prepared by Ralf Dahrendorf5 there is no reference to international law, and the story has still to be told. I can outline it in this essay.6

____________________
*
A revised version of a lecture delivered on 20 November 1995.
1
W. E. Hall, A Treatise on International Law, 5th edn. edited by J. B. Atlay ( Oxford, 1904).
2
T. J. Lawrence, The Principles of International Law ( London, 1898).
3
J. Westlake, International Law ( 2 vols; Cambridge, 1904- 1907).
4
L. Oppenheim, International Law, A Treatise ( 2 vols; London, 1905-6).
5
R. Dahrendorf, LSE: The History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 1895-1995 ( Oxford, 1995).
6
Much of the following information has been gleaned from the LSE Calendars. The writer acknowledges with appreciation the research of Mr. Dapo Akande.

-207-

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