Book Reviews


Principles of Public International Law

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Author: Ian Brownlie QC

Price: 37.99

Edition: 7th Edition (August 2008)

ISBN: 978-0-19-921770-0

Buy from OUP: Click Here

Ian Brownlie QC's Principles of Public International Law, now in its seventh edition and being published an incredible 42 years after its first edition, has become a highly regarded text on public international law.  For my part, it is a superbly structured and argued text although it can, at times, be too complex for anyone new to this area of law.

Brownlie's reputation, and that of Principles of Public International Law, is evidenced by its translation into Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and Korean.  This new edition is separated into thirteen parts: preliminary topics; personality and recognition; territorial sovereignty; law of the sea; common amenity and co-operation in the use of resources; state jurisdiction; rules of attribution (apart from territorial sovereignty and state jurisdiction); the law of responsibility; the protection of individuals and groups; international transactions; transmission of rights and duties; international organisations and tribunals; and the use of threat or force by states.

Principles of Public International Law aims to provide an analysis of the principles of public international law when the law is being applied in a framework of normality: this is an ambitious aim but is largely achieved.  To do so, it adopts a systematic and measured approach to this interesting and complex topic.  Brownlie also relies upon his considerable experience as a practitioner by explaining how the law has been developed and applied in practice.  By doing so, he ensures that Principles of Public International Law will remain both highly regarded amongst academics and a favourite for students for many years to come.

Anyone tackling this often complex and difficult area of law should look no further than Ian Brownlie QC's Principles of Public International Law.  It richly deserves its reputation and Brownlie's considerable experience in this area of law permeates throughout the text.  It superbly considers a vast and evolving area of law although it does assume some basic knowledge.  Readers looking for an overview of the law should. however, look elsewhere.  But those looking for an engaging and thorough account should look no further than Principles of Public International Law.

Reviewed on 17 May 2009

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