As part of the Graz International Law Discussion Series, Prof. Jean d’Aspremont (SciencesPo and Manchester) held an ESIL lecture on “The Discourse on Customary International Law”.

The lecture was held on 30 September 2022 from 13:00 to 14:30 CEST at the Faculty of Law, University of Graz, and it was introduced by Prof. Erika De Wet.

While many studies have looked at traditional questions of how to identify customary law, this presentation takes a new and original approach. It looks instead at the structure of thought that lies beneath the arguments about customary international law. By examining these structures, the presentation uncovers surprising conclusions, and demonstrates the ‚discursive splendour‘ of customary international law. One of its key claims is that customary international law is not the surviving trace of an ancient law-making mechanism that used to be found in traditional societies. It is also argued that, contrary to mainstream opinion, customary international law is in fact shaped by texts, and originates from a textual environment.

The recording of the lecture is now available here.