International Law Works, Professor Tai-Heng Cheng transcends current
debates about whether international law is really law by focusing on the
complying with or deviating from international laws and other informal norms, whether or not they are "law." Instead of advocating for or against international law, Professor Cheng acknowledges both its benefits and shortcomings in order to present practical ways to decide whether compliance in a given circumstance is beneficial, moral, or necessary, and to adjust international law to meet the contemporary challenges of global governance. In this manner, Professor Cheng shows how it is possible for decision makers to take international law and its limitations seriously.
"This is a well articulated thesis
on how the perception of international law as a product of social practice
and shared expectations can alleviate what the author calls the 'gridlock'
between conservatives and liberals. It is written in a lively way, with
full reference to all the strands in the debates about international law
generated by the complex and sometimes traumatic events of recent years. A
--Rosalyn Higgins, Former President, International Court of Justice
"A creative and
thoughtful analysis of the role of international law in contemporary
affairs, which blends meticulous scholarship with keen practical
--Gary Born, Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP
"This important new book by Tai-Heng Cheng aims at
international law's place of action. There is no doctrinal point between
'is' and 'ought' and 'applying' and 'making.' Likewise, academics only
rarely assert a point between power and values, or realism and idealism.
For Cheng, however, it is exactly such points that exist at times of
decision. It is there where Cheng focuses relentlessly, offering clarity
and, indeed, optimism."
--Professor David D. Caron, UC Berkeley School of Law, and President, American Society of International Law
"This book makes an important contribution to our
understanding of the real world effects of international law. The author's
analysis is both theoretical and empirical, displaying an extraordinary
grasp of international law, its functions and foundations, across a wide
range of regimes, from torture to international finance. The breadth of
reflection in this work is truly exceptional, and yields insights
unavailable where analysis is confined to one particular branch or
instrument of international law. Professor Cheng writes with boldness,
passion and an impressive command of his subject. He takes a stance on the
relationship of morality to effectiveness in legal norms that promises to
re-open important issues in legal theory from an internationalist
--Professor Robert Howse, New York University School of Law
"This is an important book.
At a time when contemporary scholarship has either tried, too hard, to be
less value-laden while seeking out behavioral explanations, or turned to
questions of exit from international rules, Professor Cheng reminds us of
the original promise of international law, faces the conceptual
difficulties squarely in elegant and lucid prose, argues for compromise,
and explores the practical side of compliance by a range of actors beyond
the state. The New Haven school has succeeded in reminding us how much it
has to say about the major events of our time. This is one of its most
powerful voices speaking, and must be heard."
--Professor C.L. Lim, Hong Kong University Faculty of Law
"With this book, Professor Cheng has entered the
international legal theory debates at the highest level. He describes the
primary contenders with great erudition and offers his own compromise
position between them."
--Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame Law School
"Professor Cheng's 'justificatory account of
international law' offers a fresh legal framework grounded firmly in
policy, morality and practicality and illustrated contextually in case
studies. His 'conciliatory alternative to battle' between Goldsmith/Posner
and O'Connell makes this book definitely worth a look from its targeted
audience of 'actors who affect outcomes in international disputes.'"
--Lucy Reed, Co-Head, Global International Arbitration Group, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Cheng has written an eye-opening and challenging work that moves the
debate forward over the ages-old debate over international law's status as
law or policy. Rather than rehearsing the familiar philosophical and
political arguments over the nature of law, Cheng pursues the more
on-the-ground question whether government officials implement
international norms within their own countries. His explanation for the
practice of officials in following international law provides small
comfort for either side of the debate, and will demand a re-thinking of
the relationship between domestic, foreign, and international law in an
increasingly globalized world."
--Professor John Yoo, UC Berkeley School of Law