It is our pleasure to announce the winner of the Journal of International Law and Politics Peer Review Award for Volume 44: Harlan Grant Cohen, for his piece Finding International Law, Part II: Our Fragmenting Legal Community. The award recognizes the most significant contribution by an emerging scholar (an author under the age of thirty-five) published in JILP this academic year. It was selected by a panel of three International Law scholars who reviewed the qualifying articles for form, content, and contribution to the field of International Law. While the panel admitted the decision was not easy, Cohen’s article stood out for its “ambitious and creative argument with very strong analysis and persuasive writing.”
The inspiration for the Award came from our realization that in the flurry of article selection promising young authors can be easily overlooked. The Award was also motivated by JILP’s larger desire to increase faculty involvement in the article selection process and operation of the Journal. Although students work closely with faculty in the classroom and in research settings, the Award was a unique opportunity to discuss new developments in international law and politics with experts in the field in relation to this new scholarship. The effort proved valuable to the editors involved in article selection and the faculty who served on the panel for the Peer Review Award—we hope you find the results rewarding as well.
Cohen’s new article Finding International Law, Part II: Our Fragmenting Legal Community builds on his 2007 piece, Finding International Law: Rethinking the Doctrine of Sources. Both articles consider the impact of a rise in human rights and related developments in international legal theory. The 2007 article focuses on the sources of international law to argue for a new doctrine of interpretation favoring opinio juris rather than treaty law in order to canonize new norms. The current article moves beyond sources of international law to the communities invoking the law in an attempt to bridge the gap between the theory of legal pluralism and the practice. Here, too, Cohen finds fragmentation resulting from changed circumstances, a reality that urges us to reconsider our notions of legitimacy. Although the conflict Cohen identifies runs deep, his analyses serve as a useful starting point from which to reconcile the overlapping authority in international law.
The author admits that “a solution to these disputes is beyond [the article’s] scope.” Thus, we look forward to the prospect of Cohen writing a Part III—just as we look forward to selecting future JILP Peer Review Award winners and to emerging scholarship in the field of international law and politics.
1 Harlan Grant Cohen, Finding International Law: Rethinking the Doctrine of Sources, 93 IOWA L. REV. 65 (2007).
2 Harlan Grant Cohen, Finding International Law, Part II: Our Fragmenting Legal Community, 44 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 1049, 1063 (2012).