n South African Law Journal - Introduction to International Law, TW Bennett & J Strug : book review

Volume 132, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



Writing a textbook is a generally difficult undertaking. Writing an textbook is particularly challenging, in at least two respects. Conceptually, there is no 'simple' introduction to international law, particularly when one's point of reference is domestic law. Complications related to international law's unique juridical nature, which Megret aptly describes as being 'a law "in between"', manifest themselves in 'international law's subjects, its ethical tenor, its organising social principle, its epistemological outlook, its normative structure, its relationship to domestic law, and its functional modus operandi' (Frederic Megret 'International law as law' in James Crawford & Martti Koskenniemi (eds) (2012) 64). From a practical perspective, as the subject is , as it were, the marketplace is far larger than that of domestic legal texts, and so is the competition. As a result, one either has to compete with well-established, general treatises of the like of 8 ed (2012) by James Crawford, or specialise the text by pitching it at a certain level or a particular . Examples of 'level-specific' texts are 2 ed (2014) by Ademola Abbas or 7 ed (2013) by Martin Dixon. Examples of 'audience-specific' texts are 2 ed (2005) by Sam Blay, Ryszard Piotrowicz & B Martin Tsamenyi and, closer to home, 4 ed (2011) by John Dugard.

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