2021 ESIL Book Prize

The 2021 ESIL Book Prize will be awarded in September 2021.

The deadline for submitting books to be considered for the 2021 Prize is 20 January 2021. Publishers are advised to read the ESIL BOOK PRIZE GUIDELINES before submitting books.

Gleider Hernández is the ESIL Board member coordinating the Prize; please contact him with any questions.


2020 ESIL Book Prize Winner


The 2020 European Society of International Law Book Prize jury unanimously decided to award the 2020 prize to Daniel Peat (University of Leiden) for Comparative Reasoning in International Courts and TribunalsCambridge University Press, 2019.

The 2020 jury members were: Erika de Wet (University of Pretoria), Mathias Forteau (University of Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense) and Christian Walter (LMU Munich).

Jury’s decision:

The jury evaluated a wide range (13 in total, on very different topics) of books published in 2019 submitted for consideration by leading international law publishers.

The jury regrets that, while books can be submitted to the ESIL Book Prize in any European Language, only books in English were submitted. Given the nature of the ESIL, the jury paid close attention to the criteria of multilingualism with regard to the bibliographical sources of the books. The jury also favoured monographs above text books.

Each of the members of the jury read the 13 books and then collectively discussed the merits of each of them. The jury members were in agreement that four of the books in particular were strong contenders for the ESIL prize. Following deliberation, the jury decided to award the Prize to Daniel Peat’s Comparative Reasoning in International Courts and Tribunals (CUP, 2019).

The book examines the practice of five international courts and tribunals (in different fields of international law: ICJ, WTO, Investment Arbitration, ECHR, ICTY) to demonstrate that domestic law is invoked to interpret international law in a way that is not necessarily foreseen by existing international rules of interpretation. Peat’s book main virtue is that it draws new conclusions which are discovered behind well-known general issues. Practical examples used are of great relevance – even if the methodology that is followed, in particular in the selection of the said examples, could have been more clearly presented.

Peat’s book is concise (a quality that the members of the jury found important) yet very substantial, innovative and highly stimulating. It is of great interest not only for the law and practice of international adjudication, but also for the theory of the sources of international law (general principles of law, relationship between domestic law and international adjudication, and relationship between comparative law and international law, which is a fascinating, emerging issue) and their interpretation. As such, it will provide any international lawyer with new insights and perspectives on core issues of general international law and will not doubt pave the way to future researches in the field.

The prize was announced during the 2020 ESIL General Assembly. A virtual celebration with the author was held on 2 October  2020. A video recording of the event is available here.


Previous Book Prize winners: 

  • ESIL Book Prize 2019: John Linarelli, Margot E. Salomon and Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah for The Misery of International Law: Confrontations with Injustice in the Global Economy, OUP, 2018, and Alejandro Rodiles for Coalitions of the Willing and International Law: The Interplay between Formality and Informality, CUP, 2018.
  • ESIL Book Prize 2018: Dr. Guy Fiti Sinclair (Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law) for his book To Reform the World: International Organizations and the Making of Modern States, OUP, 2017.
  • ESIL Book Prize 2017: Prof. James A. Green (Professor of Public International Law at the University of Reading) for his book The Persistent Objector Rule in International Law, OUP, 2016
  • ESIL Book Prize 2016: Dr Arnulf Becker Lorca (Visiting  Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki) Mestizo International Law: A Global Intellectual History 1842-1933, CUP, 2015
  • ESIL Book Prize 2015:  Monica Garcia-Salmones Rovira (Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki) The Project of Positivism in International Law, OUP, 2014
  • ESIL Book Prize 2014Sandesh Sivakumaran (University of Nottingham), The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict, Oxford University Press 2012; Ingo Venzke (University of Amsterdam), How Interpretation Makes International Law. On Semantic Change and Normative Twists, OUP, 2012
  • ESIL Book Prize 2012Michael Waibel (Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge), Sovereign Defaults before International Courts and Tribunals, CUP, 2011
  • ESIL Book Prize 2010: Lorenzo Gradoni (University of Bologna), Regime Failure nel diritto internazionale, CEDAM, 2009
  • ESIL Book Prize 2008: Matthew Craven (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), The Decolonization of International Law: State Succession and the Law of Treaties, OUP, 2007