The Functionality of International Legal Concepts

This project is a spin-off of Ulf Linderfalk’s earlier Jus Cogens Project, which addresses, among other things, the role of the jus cogens concept in international legal discourse. A concept is a mental representation. It is the generalized idea of an empirical or normative phenomenon or a class of such phenomena. Such ideas figure prominently in the way international lawyers think and talk about international law. This raises questions about their possible function or functions. Arguably, international legal concepts would not be used on such a large scale if they did not also fill important needs. What exactly are those needs? What does international legal discourse need legal concepts for? By providing such ques-tions with answers, we will be equipped to start asking questions about the interplay between interna-tional law and the individuals, groups, and institutions who exploit it. Arguably, this will contribute to a better understanding of the creation and development of international law.

This project, extending over a period of three years, is funded by the Swedish Institute on Legal Scientific Research (Institutet för rättsvetenskaplig forsaking), enabling professor Ulf Linderfalk to implement it.