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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how international lawyers arrived in 1920 at the codification of Article 38 in the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ, later ICJ). The codification is explained as a victory of legal positivist ideas over natural law concepts. An overview of the positions defended in the late nineteenth-century literature of international law demonstrates that the codification largely reflected predominant ideas in the European tradition of international law. Here, legal positivism had undertaken a quite successful attack against natural law. Thus, when comparing the predominant views on sources of international law in the nineteenth century and in the twenty-first century, the differences in the practice of international law must be kept in mind.

Keywords: 1815 to World War I, World War I to World War II, Choice of law, General principles of international law

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