Preface to the first edition

AuthorJohn H. Currie
The f‌ield of public international law is vast, comprising an ent ire legal
system governing the rights and obligations of st ates in their relations
with one another and, increasingly, with non-state actors. The area has
undergone explosive growth in the past half-century and so, accord-
ingly, has its pervasive inf‌luence on international relations and domes-
tic legal systems alike. Canada in particular has been a leader in thi s
area such that, today, there is virtually no aspect of Ca nadian law that
has not in some way or another been inf‌luenced by international law.
Internation al law has therefore cea sed to be a n arcane and specialized
topic, of interest only to a small group of academics and lawyers in
government practice. It has entered the legal mainstream and yet is still
little known by many pract itioners, judges, and students.
This book is therefore intended as a systematic introduction to this
complex and increasingly import ant area of the law. It describe s and
places i n context the fundamental elements of the international legal
sys tem the subjects of intern ational law, its key institutional struc-
tures, its sources, its i nteraction w ith domestic legal systems — and
reviews some of its most important substantive topics including the
law of treaties, the relat ionship between states and territory, the law of
the sea, state jurisdiction and jurisdictional immunities, international
human rights law, and the fundamental rules of state responsibility.
While the sheer re ach and diversity of modern intern ational law place
an exhaus tive treatment of every one of its numerous substantive topics
beyond the scope of this introductory text, the contents of this book
have been cho sen for their fund amental importa nce to an understand-
ing of interna tional law more generally a nd to further study in spe-

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