Lorenzo Gradoni wins the James Crawford Prize 2018

11 April 2019

Lorenzo Gradoni, Senior Research Fellow at the MPI Luxembourg, received the James Crawford Prize 2018 for his article Un-procedural Customary Law.

The James Crawford Prize is awarded annually by the Journal of International Dispute Settlement (Oxford University Press).

Lorenzo’s paper looks at customary international law in a broad comparative perspective to show that, whilst the power to determine what customary law demands has been typically entrusted to authorities acting in the framework of special procedural arrangements, sometimes featuring detailed evidentiary rules, the international variant of customary law has never found a procedural ‘resting place’. The paper further argues that there is a connection between the un-procedural character of customary international law and its long-standing ‘identity crisis’, and it reads this through the lens of Jungian concepts of Mask and Shadow, which contribute to explaining the elements of uncertainty, ambiguity and concealment that are so central to discourses about international custom. The Prize Committee found that the paper offers “a new narrative that has the potential to change how we look at custom” and “a precious example of how legal scholarship can be scientifically solid while at the same time intellectually exciting, daring, and ‘different’.”

Lorenzo’s article will be published in the second issue (current year) of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement.

More information about the James Crawford Prize can be found here.