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Legal relations of collectives : belated insights from Hohfeld

journal contribution
posted on 2009-06-01, 00:00 authored by John MorssJohn Morss
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.

History

Journal

Leiden journal of international law

Volume

22

Issue

2

Pagination

289 - 305

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

Cambridge, England

ISSN

0922-1565

eISSN

1478-9698

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law