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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

International law is the product not only of a political and legal process that takes place between states but also of processes that take place within them. Accordingly, examining domestic institutions that states use to create international law is essential to our understanding of international law. And yet to date there has been remarkably little cross-national work examining the role of domestic politics and law in the creation of treaties and other international law. This chapter aims to contribute to an emerging conversation about how best to carry out a more comprehensive examination of differences between states in the law governing their engagement in the world around them. It maps out five areas that offer opportunities and challenges for the study of comparative foreign relations law: first, the choice of methodology, whether quantitative or qualitative. Second, the underrepresentation of certain states in existing foreign relations scholarship. Third, the domestic political and institutional structures that shape the interplay between the legislative, executive, and judicial functions within states. Fourth, the role of geopolitics. Fifth, the chapter sounds a cautionary note about approaching international law through domestic law. The challenge for scholars the world over will be to fill out this agenda and then begin to tackle it.

Keywords: international law, treaties, comparative foreign relations law, separation of powers, geopolitics

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