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The Common Interest in International Law

Book | 1st edition 2014 | Wolfgang Benedek, Matthias Kettemann, Koen De Feyter, Matthias C. Kettemann, Christina Voigt

What lies in the common interest of the international community? How are those common interests protected? What is the role of states and of the international community? The Common Interest in International Law provides answers to these key questions that international law is faced with in times of globalization, humanization and climate change.

This book looks at the protection of common interests and shows how international law is progressively moving away from a system based on territorial sovereignty to a system based on shared responsibilities among states and other actors. The areas covered range from human rights law, international environmental law and international security law to international economic law and international litigation.

The editors’ objective is to investigate whether and how international law which historically is state-centric and consensual can protect common interests of humanity, when such common interests can only be safeguarded with the commitment and cooperation of all state and non-state actors. The issue of collective interests is subject to numerous current discourses in international law. This volume attempts to tie these together to a new – or renewed – understanding of ‘common interest’ reflective of contemporary challenges in international law. The concept of ‘common interest’ suggests that more is at stake in international law than the individual self-interests of states. Such notion might hold the key to transforming international law away from the dominance of sovereignty into a system which truly serves the interest of the “community”, including all relevant actors.

This book is essential reading for all scholars and practitioners of international law. It aims at stimulating and defining the topic of the protection of common interests by the international community across geographical as much as disciplinary boundaries.

‘This is an important and multi-faceted book on one of the most urgent challenges of our time: the protection of our common interests. The book provides a solid platform for further research in this area.’
Professor Geir Ulfstein, Director, Pluricourts - Center of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo

‘The Common Interest in International Law is a fascinating, timely and innovative expert account of what common interests are, who defines them and what are their legal implications. At the same time it seeks to provide an answer to the fundamental and timeless question: what is international law for?’
Professor Katja Ziegler, Sir Robert Jennings Professor of International Law, Director of the Centre of European Law and Internationalisation (CELI), School of Law, University of Leicester

‘A carefully composed book, The Common Interest in International Law, broaches a topic that is underrepresented in the scientific discourse. As the world is getting smaller (more integrated), the number of issues that need to be resolved in the common interest of the international community continues to grow. The pursuance of common interests has serious consequences. Their realization will necessitate fundamental changes to the structure of international law and international relations. This book convincingly analyzes this evolution.’
em. Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Rüdiger Wolfrum, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Hardback
EAN / ISSN 9781780682716
Series name Law and Cosmopolitan Values
Weight 575 g
Status Available
Number of pages xiv
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Nov 3, 2014
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
    Wolfgang Benedek, Koen De Feyter, Matthias Kettemann, Christina Voigt
  • Chapter 1. Delineating the Common Interest in International Law
    Christina Voigt
  • Chapter 2. To What Extent does International Law Obstruct the Protection of Common Interests?
    Sten Schaumburg-Müller
  • Chapter 3. Differentiation between Developing and Developed Countries in International Law
    Koen De Feyter
  • Chapter 4. The Common Interest in International Litigation
    Claire Buggenhoudt
  • Chapter 5. Collective Security, the Common Interest, and the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine
    Vito Todeschini
  • Chapter 6. Protecting the Community Interest in a State Centric Legal System: the UN Charter and Certain Norms of ‘Special Standing’
    Jure Vidmar
  • Chapter 7. Human Rights and Climate Change: Extending the Extraterritorial Dimension via the Common Concern
    Werner Scholtz
  • Chapter 8. Shaping the Common Interest in Global Development: the World Bank and Its Member States as Responsible Actors
    Ana Freitas de Barros
  • Chapter 9. The Common Interest in the Protection of the Internet: an International Legal Perspective
    Matthias Kettemann
  • Chapter 10. Humanization of International Law, Human Rights and the Common Interest
    Wolfgang Benedek
  • Chapter 11. Political Activity, Extradition and the Common Interest
    Henning Fuglsang Sorensen
  • Conclusions: The Common Interest in International Law – Perspectives for an Undervalued Concept
    Wolfgang Benedek, Koen De Feyter, Matthias Kettemann, Christina Voigt
  • List of Cases
  • Biographies