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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof John Linarelli

Linarelli, John (2015). Concept and Contract in the Future of International Law. Rutgers University Law Review 67(1): 61-88.

Author(s) from Durham


How will international law deal with the problems of large-scale cooperation the peoples of the world now face and will continue to face in the future? This is the very big question that Joel Trachtman deals with in his book The Future of International Law. Trachtman’s book builds on a theme from Wolfgang Friedmann’s classic 1964 book, The Changing Structure of International Law. Friedmann argues that international law is moving, and should move, from an international law of coexistence, governing inter-state diplomacy, to an international law of cooperation, governing “the pursuit of common human interests.” Trachtman argues that “international law may grow in a way similar to municipal law: establishing basic property rights and rules of security first and turning to creation of public goods and regulatory purposes later.” International law, according to Trachtman, “evolves functionally: it changes as its constituents determine new uses.” In this rich account, Trachtman shows how international law will have to be more extensive, broader in scope, more comprehensive in the kinds of things it regulates, and more effective, to deal with “expected changes in globalization, economic development, demography, technology and democracy.” International lawyers should readily appreciate the basic insight of the book, as they divide their work between the law of coexistence of states and matters of a regulatory nature.