Introducing the Themes


  • José E Alvarez



This article introduces the critiques regarding international law explored in the articles found in this volume. First, there are "vertical complaints", as a lack of an international parliament results in international lawmakers lacking ties to democratically elected polities that legitimise law within democracies. Secondly, there are "horizontal complaints" in that there is an absence of democratisation between states. Thirdly, there are ideological critiques as international law-making is dominated by Western governmental elites. Fourthly, traditional international organisations are criticised as their perceived ideological flaws undermine their structural elements. Fifthly, some worry about substantive provisions contained in contemporary multilateral and bilateral agreements for many reasons. Sixthly, the legitimacy of contemporary law-making actors is questioned. Finally, many young scholars did not attempt to rehash the existing arguments above and instead highlighted the virtues of comparative international law. It is concluded that comparative international law remains a useful exercise.


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How to Cite

Alvarez, J. E. (2007). Introducing the Themes. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 38(2), 159–174.