International Law in Domestic Courts. A Casebook

André Nollkaemper, August Reinisch, Ralph Janik and Florentina Simlinger

£44.99, OUP


The perils of ignoring our international obligations and thinking that we can go it alone have shown how integrated our world really is. Increased participation in global trade, movement of persons and a global perspective on fundamental human rights are things we take for granted. 

However, there was a considerable struggle to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Many forget that the Human Rights Act 1998 did not become part of UK law until 2 October 2000. Arguments about rights since that incorporation have sometimes revealed deep schisms within the popular consciousness. What will follow may well mean that certain discussions about what is considered normal as a result of the influence of international law might need to be rehearsed again.

It is appropriate, then, that all those with an interest in our daily laws – practitioners, students and academics – should have access to relevant cases which have formed the bedrock of international law and practice both in this country and abroad. This book brings together the essentials needed by anyone with an interest in international law in a cogent and clear way. A book of this nature needs not only to open up obvious concepts such as statehood and recognition, but also deal with controversial topics such as international humanitarian law, terrorism and the use of force – with a clarity and respect for the subject matter that practitioners can turn to without searching through reams of obtuse material. Both as an introduction to the materials, and for more in-depth study, the book provides any practitioner with quick access to the tools of the trade. 

The book’s layout is simple but precise and the choice of casework, together with relevant and appropriate commentary, helps the reader through subject matter which can be daunting. The choice of cases, such as that of Madonna (pictured) and her custody claim to children in Malawi, through to the admissibility of so-called foreign torture evidence, shows the breadth of issues that this work covers. 

As would be expected from a work of this nature, the cases are selected from a range of countries with varying approaches and background legislation, particularly regarding international accords and protocols.

In short, this book is an essential tool for basic and further study, research and reference.


Raj Joshi is a barrister at Red Lion Chambers, London