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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Aoife O'Donoghue

O'Donoghue, Aoife (2014). Good Offices: Grasping the Place of Law in Conflict. Legal Studies 34(3): 469-496.

Author(s) from Durham


In the pantheon of approaches open to participants in the pacific settlement of disputes, good offices holds a noteworthy place. The evolution of good offices over the past century is concurrent with a trend of considerable transformation within international law, including – amongst other changes – a move away from a state-led legal order, including in good offices following the emergence of the heads of international organisations as its prime users, and a process of legalisation and specialisation within the subject that has entirely altered its character. These changes have led to a redefinition of good offices that stresses the actor carrying out the role above the form that it takes. To accompany these changes in practice, there is a need for a transformation in the legal analysis and definition of good offices. One potential option in achieving this end is Bell's lex pacificatoria. If good offices is to continue to play a significant role in the settlement of violent conflicts, a fully developed legal analysis is necessary to grasp both its historical development and its potential future role.