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Public International Law: Relevant Literature

By ​Eduardo Sánchez Madrigal

​Eduardo Sánchez Madrigal is a master’s student and research assistant at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. His research interests include human rights and public international law.

Public International Law: Relevant Literature

Main Titles


Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalá, Cassese’s International Law, Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition (2020).

Cassese’s International Law is a new edition of an established classic. Authors Gaeta, Viñuales, and Zappalá have built on the legacy of international law luminary Antonio Cassese to offer a thought-provoking and lucid account for today’s undergraduates and postgraduates. The authors have refreshed Cassese’s original approach, ensuring the book continues to compare the traditional legal position with the developing and evolving law. Advancing areas such as the law of the sea, territorial matters, and international environmental law have been expanded to give proper place to their evolving development, while brand new chapters on international trade and foreign investment have been written to reflect the advancements of these areas. In maintaining the broad structure and approach but providing new material, the authors bring fresh context to Cassese’s thinking and provide students with an up-to-date, compelling account of the landscape of international legal thinking.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 39.99

James Crawford, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, 9th Edition (2019).

Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law has been shaping the study and application of international law for over 50 years. Serving as a single-volume introduction to the field as a whole, the book is one of the classic treatises on international law, now fully updated to order to take account of recent developments. It includes extensive references in order to provide a solid foundation for further research.Authored by James Crawford, the ninth edition further secures the work as the essential international law text for students and practitioners.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 49.99

Gleider Hernández, International Law, Oxford University Press (2019).

International Law presents a comprehensive yet student-focused approach to the subject, providing a contemporary and stimulating account of international law. With critical coverage delivered through a wide range of learning features, students are encouraged to engage with legal debates and controversies. Online resources accompany this book, providing additional support for students.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 35.99

Malcolm Evans (editor), International Law, Oxford University Press, 5th Edition (2018).

Evans’ International Law is widely celebrated as an outstanding collection of interesting and diverse writings from the leading scholars in the field. The fully updated fifth edition succeeds in explaining the principles of international law and exposing the debates and challenges that underlie it. Now fully revised and updated, it continues to provide an authoritative and stimulating overview of this increasingly important subject; revealing international law in its full diversity.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 41.99

Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law, Cambridge University Press, 8th Edition (2017).

International Law is the definitive and authoritative text on the subject, offering Shaw’s unbeatable combination of clarity of expression and academic rigour and ensuring both understanding and critical analysis in an engaging and authoritative style. Encompassing the leading principles, practice and cases, and retaining and developing the detailed references which encourage and assist the reader in further study, this new edition motivates and challenges students and professionals while remaining accessible and engaging. Fully updated to reflect recent case law and treaty developments, this edition contains an expanded treatment of the relationship between international and domestic law, the principles of international humanitarian law, and international criminal law alongside additional material on international economic law.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 33.99

Jan Klabbers, International Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition (2017).

Written by one of the world’s leading international lawyers, this is the new and updated edition of Jan Klabber’s landmark textbook. International law can be defined as ‘the rules governing the legal relationship between nations and states’, but in reality it is much more complex, with political, diplomatic and socio-economic factors shaping the law and its application. This refreshingly clear, concise textbook encourages students to view international law as a dynamic system of organizing the world. Bringing international law back to its first principles, the book is organised around four questions: where does it come from? To whom does it apply? How does it resolve conflict? And what does it say? Building on these questions with both academic rigour and clarity of expression, Professor Klabbers breathes life and energy into the subject. Footnotes point students to the wider academic debate while chapter introductions and final remarks reinforce learning. The second edition has been updated throughout, with particular attention to recent judicial decisions, and features new sections on sovereign debt relief, the prompt release of vessels, and the Antarctic.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 33.99

Anne Orford and Florian Hoffmann (editors), The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law, Oxford University Press (2016).

The Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory provides an accessible and authoritative guide to the major thinkers, concepts, approaches, and debates that have shaped contemporary international legal theory. The Handbook features 48 original essays by leading international scholars from a wide range of traditions, nationalities, and perspectives, reflecting the richness and diversity of this dynamic field. The collection explores key questions and debates in international legal theory, offers new intellectual histories for the discipline, and provides fresh interpretations of significant historical figures, texts, and theoretical approaches. It provides a much-needed map of the field of international legal theory, and a guide to the main themes and debates that have driven theoretical work in international law. The Handbook will be an indispensable reference work for students, scholars, and practitioners seeking to gain an overview of current theoretical debates about the nature, function, foundations, and future role of international law.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 125.00

Alina Kaczorowska-Ireland, Public International Law, Routledge, 5th Edition (2015).

The 5th edition of Public International Law continues the book’s accessible, student-friendly tradition with a writing style that is both conversational and easy to read. Features designed to support learning include highlighted key cases, introductory chapter overviews, and end-of-chapter aides-mémoire and recommended further reading. Public International Law is unique in that it is both a textbook and a casebook. The facts of each case and the details of the court or tribunal’s decision are succinctly set out, followed by detailed commentary from the author, and, where appropriate, a brief explanation of subsequent events. The book covers all the major areas of public international law, and takes account of new developments relating to the codification of international law by the International Law Commission, State practice, and decisions of international courts and tribunals, in particular those of the International Court of Justice.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 100.00 (hardback) and £ 39.19 (paperback)

Other Relevant Titles by Year


Alexander Orakhelashvili (editor), Research Handbook on the Theory and History of International Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2nd Edition (2020).

This updated and revised second edition provides a comprehensive scholarly framework for analyzing the theory and history of international law. Featuring an array of legal and interdisciplinary analyses, it focuses on those theories and developments that illuminate the central and timeless basic concepts and categories of the international legal system, highlighting the interdependency of various aspects of theory and history and demonstrating the connections between theory and practice. With contributions from renowned experts, this Research Handbook explores the essence and development of international legal theory, taking account of the key shifts and advances since the era of classical legal scholarship. Contributors examine several major areas of international law in depth, before transferring their focus to the history of international law from the medieval period up to the present day. Coverage has been expanded to include analysis of the origins of and Eurocentric narratives surrounding the present system, and to discuss significant developments of the 21st century. Scholars and students of international law and politics looking for an in-depth understanding of the current international legal system and its history will find this Research Handbook to be crucial reading. Its theoretical approach will also be of interest to legal theorists, as well as researchers in ethics and philosophy.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 210.00


Cecilia M. Bailliet (editor), Research Handbook on International Law and Peace, Edward Elgar Publishing (2019).

Peace is an elusive concept, especially within the field of international law, varying according to historical era and between contextual applications within different cultures, institutions, societies, and academic traditions. This Research Handbook responds to the gap created by the neglect of peace in international law scholarship. Explaining the normative evolution of peace from the principles of peaceful co-existence to the UN declaration on the right to peace, this Research Handbook calls for the fortification of international institutions to facilitate the pursuit of sustainable peace as a public good. It sets forth a new agenda for research that invites scholars from a broad array of disciplines and fields of law to analyse the contribution of international institutions to the construction and implementation of sustainable peace. With its critical examination of courts, transitional justice institutions, dispute resolution and fact-finding mechanisms, this Research Handbook goes beyond the traditional focus on post-conflict resolution, and includes areas not usually found in analyses of peace such as investment and trade law. Bringing together contributions from leading researchers in the field of international law and peace, this Research Handbook analyses peace in the context of law applicable to women, refugees, environmentalism, sustainable development, disarmament, and other key contemporary issues. This thoughtful Research Handbook will be a crucial tool for policymakers, practitioners, and academics in the fields of international law, human rights, jus post bellum, and development. Its comprehensive insights to the field will also be of benefit for students of political science, law, and peace studies.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 205.00

Giovanni Distefano, Fundamentals of Public International Law: A Sketch of the International Legal Order, Brill (2019).

Fundamentals of Public International Law, by Giovanni Distefano, provides an overview of public international law’s main principles and fundamental institutions. By introducing the foundations of the legal reasoning underlying public international law, the extensive volume offers essential tools for any international lawyer, regardless of the specific field of specialization. Dealing expansively with subjects, sources and guarantees of international law, university students, scholars and practitioners alike will benefit from the book’s treatment of what has been called the “Institutes” of public international law.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 199.00


Sean D. Murphy, Principles of International Law, West Academic Publishing, 3rd Edition (2018).

This fully-updated third edition provides a comprehensive survey of public international law, with useful references throughout to current events, classic and contemporary cases and scholarship. It is designed as a stand-alone text or as a complement to all the major casebooks on the topic. The first part of the book addresses how international law is created, interpreted and enforced; the second part focuses on the interface of international law and national law; and the final part covers key subject matter areas: human rights, injury to aliens, the law of the sea, international environmental law, international criminal law, and the use of force.

Link to Publisher ǀ $ 57.00 USD


William A. Schabas and Shannonbrooke Murphy (editors), Research Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals, Edward Elgar Publishing (2017).

Since the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for international dispute resolution in 1899, the number of international courts and tribunals has multiplied and the reach of their jurisdiction has steadily expanded. By providing a synthetic overview and critical analysis of these developments from multiple perspectives, this Research Handbook both contextualizes and stimulates future research and practice in this rapidly developing field. Made up of specially commissioned chapters by leading and emerging scholars, the book takes a thematic and interpretive, system-wide and inter-jurisdictional comparative approach to the main issues, debates and controversies related to the growth of international courts and tribunals. Its review of influential international judgements traverses the areas of international peace and security law, international human rights law, international criminal law and international economic law, while also including critical reflection by practitioners. This nuanced review of the latest thinking on scholarly debates and controversies in international courts and tribunals will be both a key resource for academic researchers and a concise introduction to the subject for post-graduate students. Its chapters also contain topics of practical relevance to lawyers and international decision-makers.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 175.00

Gerhard von Glahn and James Larry Taulbee, Law Among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law, Routledge, 11th Edition (2017).

Offering a more accessible alternative to casebooks and historical commentaries, Law Among Nations explains issues of international law by tracing the field’s development and stressing key principles, processes, and landmark cases. This comprehensive text eliminates the need for multiple books by combining discussions of theory and state practice with excerpts from landmark cases. The book has been updated in light of the continuing revolution in communication technology, the dense web of linkages between countries that involve individuals and bodies both formal and informal; and covers important and controversial areas such as human rights, the environment, and issues associated with the use of force. Renowned for its rigorous approach and clear explanations, Law Among Nations remains the gold standard for undergraduate introductions to international law.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 176.00 (hardback) and £ 64.00 (paperback)

Rosalyn Higgins, Philippa Webb, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran, and James Sloan, Oppenheim’s International Law: United Nations, Oxford University Press (2017).

The United Nations, whose specialized agencies were the subject of an Appendix to the 1958 edition of Oppenheim’s International Law: Peace, has expanded beyond all recognition since its founding in 1945.This volume represents a study that is entirely new, but prepared in the way that has become so familiar over succeeding editions of Oppenheim. An authoritative and comprehensive study of the United Nations’ legal practice, this volume covers the formal structures of the UN as it has expanded over the years, and all that this complex organization does. All substantive issues are addressed in separate sections, including among others, the responsibilities of the UN, financing, immunities, human rights, preventing armed conflicts and peacekeeping, and judicial matters. In examining the evolving structures and ever expanding work of the United Nations, this volume follows the long-held tradition of Oppenheim by presenting facts uncoloured by personal opinion, in a succinct text that also offers in the footnotes a wealth of information and ideas to be explored. It is book that, while making all necessary reference to the Charter, the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and other legal instruments, tells of the realities of the legal issues as they arise in the day to day practice of the United Nations. Missions to the UN, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, practitioners of international law, academics, and students will all find this book to be vital in their understanding of the workings of the legal practice of the UN. Research for this publication was made possible by The Balzan Prize, which was awarded to Rosalyn Higgins in 2007 by the International Balzan Foundation.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 395.00


Council of Europe (editor), The CAHDI Contribution to the Development of Public International Law: Achievements and Future Challenges, Brill (2016).

In a political climate which encourages interdependence between States, international law is steadily developing and increasingly becoming a key factor in the organisation of inter-State relations. This concept of interdependence implies a strong commitment by all States to international law and a shared responsibility for its application. Through the ad hoc Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI), the Council of Europe contributes to the implementation of public international law and further acts as a catalyst for its development. Indeed, the CAHDI has established itself as an invaluable actor in the development of public international law, functioning notably as the European Observatory of Reservations and Declarations to International Treaties, a unique and flagship function acknowledged today by other regional organisations. The CAHDI also acts as a laboratory and a catalyst for new ideas. This volume, containing thought-provoking essays by former and current Legal Advisers from a wide selection of Council of Europe countries, arose from the conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CAHDI meetings and showcases CAHDI’s pioneering work. 

Link to Publisher ǀ € 189.00

Benedetto Conforti and Carlo Focarelkli (editors), The Law and Practice of the United Nations, Brill, 5th Revised Edition (2016).

The Law and Practice of the United Nations examines the law of the United Nations through an analysis of the Organization’s practice from its inception until the present, in particular to the transformations the UN has undergone since the end of the Cold War. Special consideration is given to Chapter VII of the UN Charter and its interpretation, the United Nations’ membership and organs’ competences, along with the peaceful settlement of disputes, and coercive action for the maintenance of international peace and security. In addition, this important new edition explores such areas as general and smart sanctions, peacekeeping, authorizations of the Security Council, territorial administrations, self-determination, human rights, financing of the Organization, acts adoptable by the UN organs, and a review of their legality. Offering a fully revised and updated analysis of the main legal issues surrounding the United Nations’ practice, The Law and Practice of the United Nations will be of interest to all those involved with legal issues surrounding the United Nations, the analysis of said issues, and their impacts on international practice 

Link to Publisher ǀ € 203.00


David Harris and Sandesh Sivakumaran, Cases and Materials on International Law, Sweet & Maxwell, 8th Edition (2015).

Students of Public International Law require access to an overwhelming variety of materials which are not always easy to obtain. Cases and Materials on International Law draws together in one volume an exhaustive selection of cases, materials and background information on the subject, which is supplemented by authoritative commentary and expert analysis. Widely recognised as the leading text of its kind, the eighth edition of Cases and Materials on International Law incorporates all major developments in the subject.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 36.95

Geert De Baere and Jan Wouters (editors), The Contribution of International and Supranational Courts to the Rule of Law, Edward Elgar Publishing (2015).

International and supranational courts are increasingly central to the development of a transnational rule of law. Except for insiders, the functioning and impact of these courts remain largely unknown. Addressing this gap, this innovative book examines the manner in which and the extent to which international courts and tribunals contribute to the rule of law at the national, regional, and international levels. With unique insights from members of the international judiciary, this authoritative book deals with the fundamental procedural and substantive legal principles, sources, tools of interpretation, and enforcement used by the respective judicial bodies. The rule of law-focused approach offers a unique opportunity for a thorough cross-case analysis of the differences and commonalities in the essential contributions of the respective courts and tribunals to international justice. The book also includes an in-depth theoretical framework and allows for the identification of fundamental principles and commonalities, as well as differences and contrasts between the different judicial bodies. In addition to students, researchers and scholars in international law, this timely and comprehensive study of international courts and their contributions will be an enlightening resource for legal practitioners and those involved with international justice.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 121.00