This year was, once again, one of great political turmoil. The international legal order is not immune from the impact of the rise of populism and increasingly strained relations between many of the world’s most powerful states. A positive view is that we are witnessing a period of global re-adjustment. A more negative take is that there is a real risk of the fabric of the international legal order, created so carefully in the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, unravelling.
Two thousand and seventeen was, once again, a dramatic year in terms of world affairs. Fears about a rising tide of nationalism were stemmed by the failure of far-right parties to win majorities in the Dutch, French, and German elections but the impact of arguably 2016’s biggest upheaval – the election of President Trump – was felt far and wide.
This year seems to have packed in more news events and shocking developments than any other in recent memory. As 2016 draws to an end, many are fearful of how the political trends that surfaced this year will play out and what their long-term effect will be on the international legal order. At the same time, the year has seen a number of successes in international law, most notably in judicial decisions that championed the rule of law against the interests of powerful states and corporations. This post highlights and discusses ten international law victories and failures in 2016.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of OUP’s International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC). Created to be an innovative and valuable resource for research on the interpretation and application of international law, it shows how international law matters in practice. Digital innovation in the past decade has allowed ILDC to provide scholars with data in the form of case law and analysis on which to base further scholarship from jurisdictions around the world.
From the adoption of blockbuster treaties to the myriad of legal questions raised by the fight against ISIS, international law was front and centre in many of 2015’s top news stories. These events are likely to change the shape and scope of the international legal order for years to come.