We are in a moment where peoples and states are interested, directly or indirectly, in asserting their "national interest," unilaterally if necessary. In the White House, the national security policy is premised on "America First," while Catalans and Iraqi Kurds have taken steps to unilaterally declare their independence. All of these actions have generated tension both domestically and internationally. However, even though the potential for unilateral action has been receiving a lot of attention, the larger issue of the legality of unilateral acts is often hard to discern. This book provides a history of the doctrine of unilateral acts in international law, tracing their treatment in the international sphere from consent based acts, to obligations erga omnes, to acts of estoppel.
Through chapter-by-chapter case studies, this book traces the "legalization" of the category of unilateral acts from its 19th Century foundations into a broad category of obligation. To understand why and how this occurred, this book examines the history of the legal doctrine of unilateral acts, which shows that in spite of efforts to progressively make unilateral acts "legal" they are still not precisely defined or easy to apply, challenging the very commitment these acts are meant to establish.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Chapter One: INTRODUCTION
1.1 What is a Unilateral Act?
1.2 Unilateral Acts and the History of International Law
1.3 Unilateral Acts in the Nineteenth Century
1.4 The Aims and Structure of this Book
4 Chapter Two: UNILATERAL ACTS AS CONSENT BASED AGREEMENTS
2.1 The Monroe Doctrine: A Doctrine of Non-Intervention by A Great Power
2.2 The Monroe Doctrine: From Political Act to Special Law
5 Chapter Three: UNILATERAL ACTS AS OBLIGATIONS ERGA OMNES
3.1 The Nuclear Tests Cases and Acts Erga Omnes
3.2 Obligations Erga Omnes
3.3 The Problem With Identifying Unilateral Acts That Were Obligations Erga Omnes
3.4 Unilateral Acts as Unilateral Acts Erga Omnes Since the Nuclear Tests Cases
3.5 Unilateral Act as Obligation Erga Omnes: The Creation of a Universal Obligation
6 Chapter Four: UNILATERAL ACTS AS ESTOPPELS
4.1.1 Substantive Estoppel
4.1.2 Estoppels as a Bar to Proceeding before the ICJ
4.2 Unilateral Acts and Estoppel
4.3 Estoppels and Good Faith
7 Chapter Five: UNILATERAL ACTS AND THE PROGRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF INTENRATIONAL LAW
5.1 The ILC and Unilateral Acts
5.5 The ILC, Unilateral Acts, and Sovereignty and Universality
8 Chapter Six: UNILATERAL ACTS, POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
6.1 The Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Kosovo
6.2 Legalization and Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence
9 Chapter Seven: CONCLUSION
The series offers a space for new and emerging scholars of international law to publish original arguments, as well as presenting alternative perspectives from more established names in international legal research. Works cover both the theory and practice of international law, presenting innovative analyses of the nature and state of international law itself as well as more specific studies within particular disciplines. The series will explore topics such as the changes to the international legal order, the processes of law-making and law-enforcement, as well as the range of actors in public international law. The books will take a variety of different methodological approaches to the subject including interdisciplinary, critical legal studies, feminist, and Third World approaches, as well as the sociology of international law. Looking at the past, present and future of international law the series reflects the current vitality and diversity of international legal scholarship.