Collectives and their interrelations are central to international law. Legal relations between collectives can be analysed with reference to the classic account of Hohfeld without reducing those collectives to mere aggregates of individuals and without recourse to the legal fiction of treating the collective, for example the state, as a quasi-individual. The rights of collectives have been widely if not conclusively explored within international law, but Hohfeld’s ‘field’ approach to legal relations enables the scrutiny of the range of relations, including immunities, liberties, powers, and disabilities, as well as claim-rights and the corresponding obligations in others. The main substantive topics for discussion are the legal relations of collective entities such as peoples and minorities, and closely related matters such as self-determination. Applying Hohfeldian analysis to international law highlights the centrality of international collective entities of which the state represents only one variety. The approach described here therefore takes account of the dethroning of the state within contemporary international law and contributes to the theorization of that development. Nearly one hundred years after its first appearance, Hohfeld’s analytic scheme continues to generate insights for international law.
Field of Research
180116 International Law (excl International Trade Law)
Socio Economic Objective
949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified
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