Lawyers and Precedent
Any account of international law that does not explain the role of lawyers will necessarily be deficient. This is particularly the case with regard to the mysterious power of precedent in international law. Regardless of precedent’s formal role in international law, lawyers and judges regularly invoke it, respond to it, and cite it as authority. Can studying lawyers help explain when prior interpretations of international law rules will carry weight, when those interpretations will frame future arguments, and maybe, when those interpretations will burden decisions about compliance?