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45 Brit. Y.B. Int'l L. 79 (1971)
Language, Method and the Nature of International Law

handle is hein.journals/byrint45 and id is 87 raw text is: LANGUAGE, METHOD AND THE NATURE OF
A LITERARY approach to the presentation of international law persists.
The style of the Early Fathers of international law has been handed down,
almost as a tradition, through the eminent writers of international law's
Scholastic period, in the middle and late nineteenth century, to most
modern writers. There have been marginal changes of tone and vocabulary,
but there has been preserved an underlying structure of thought and argu-
ment which is more literary than scientific and more businesslike than
concerned. International law formerly shared this style and structure of
thought and argument with at least one tradition of philosophy and the
social sciences. But, in those studies, widely accepted and far-reaching
changes of language and method have occurred over recent years, tending
to replace the tone of the inspired dilettante with that of the technician. In
international law, too, there have in recent years been a number of writers,
particularly in the United States, who have adopted what appear to be a
new style and a new method-novelties which have dismayed and dis-
orientated some international, lawyers but which, on closer analysis, raise
important questions about tie method and even the nature and function of
international law. The present study considers the language of inter-
national law, its relationship to method and the contribution which a new
style and method can make to international law.
As an illustration of the classical style, the following is an extract from a
discussion of the legal character of the territorial sea in W. E. Hall's
International Law:2
Of the marginal seas, straits and enclosed waters which were regarded at the begin-
ning of the present century as being susceptible of appropriation, the case of the first is
the simplest. In claiming its marginal seas as property a State is able to satisfy the
condition of valid appropriation, because a narrow belt along a coast can be effectively
commanded from the coast itself either by guns or bymeans of a coast-guard. In fact
also such a belt is always appropriated, because States reserve to their own subjects the
enjoyment of its fisheries, or, in other words, take from it the natural products which
it is capable of yielding. It may be added that, unless the right to exercise control were
* © P. J. Allott 1971.
Legal Counsellor in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The views expressed are the
author's personal views.
2 (ist edn., x88o), pp. 125-6.

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