ESIL Monograph Prize 2023

The deadline for submitting books to be considered for the 2023 Monograph Prize is 31 January 2023.

Please find the ESIL Monograph Prize Guidelines here.

If you would like to know more about the new ESIL Collaborative Book Prize, please read here.

Freya Baetens is the ESIL Board member coordinating the Prize; please contact her with any questions.


The 2022 ESIL Monograph Prize was awarded in September 2022 during the 17th ESIL Annual Conference in Utrecht to Anne Orford for her book International Law and the Politics of History (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Jury’s decision:

This is a deep work of intellectual investigation at the intersection of international law and history, exploring the “hermeneutics of suspicion” that have emerged between the two disciplines (and of which Anne Orford has been one of the leading protagonists on the international law side). As such, it is really a kind of legacy book, a testimony to what it means to engage in history as an international lawyer, and a reply to some of the critiques that have been leveled by professional historians.

The book is very well written and overall extremely thoughtful. To some extent the book’s intended audience is historians rather than international lawyers: it reproaches them for thinking that their archival historical methods are more objective than international lawyers’ work of interpretation through a kind of tu quoque. But it is also a critique of international lawyers’ enthusiasm for history as neophytes engaged in “method laundering”. As such, it also serves as a kind of defense of international law-doing that does not shy from its politics, is immersed in realism, yet is also powerfully aware of its constitutive genealogies.

The book is inspiring in many respects. It will be a great read for many graduate students and for everyone engaged professionally or academically in international law. It is also a remarkable example of interdisciplinary scholarship: much vaunted and encouraged but often elusive. Anne Orford is clearly cognizant in the languages of both international law and history (and social theory in general).

Ultimately, the Jury felt that this was the book that displayed most intellectual leadership in our current moment. Part of the “turn to history” as several of the leading contenders in this edition, it is also the one that goes most deeply into the politics of writing international law’s history and in the process delivers the most calibrated and challenging message. In short, the Jury felt this was a highly earnest engagement with the discipline’s fallibility and potential and the book that ESIL members should read.

Previous Book Prize winners: 

  • ESIL Book Prize 2021: François Delerue (University of Leiden) for Cyber Operations and International Law, CUP, 2020.
  • ESIL Book Prize 2020: Daniel Peat (University of Leiden) for Comparative Reasoning in International Courts and Tribunals, CUP, 2019.
  • 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