Lassa Oppenheim (1858–1919)

Mathias Schmoeckel

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Lassa Oppenheim (1858–1919)

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After the publication of his textbook on international law in 1905, the Foreign Office in London started to borrow books from Lassa Oppenheim’s extensive library, and later asked him to give legal advice on international legal matters. Oppenheim was appointed Whewell Professor of international law at Cambridge University in 1908. In presenting all the opinions of legal writers about the issues presented in his textbook, and by aiming at fairness and truthfulness, he tried to convince the reader of the impartiality and objectivity of his statements. Oppenheim thus hoped to help peoples and States to know and obey the law, to prevent disputes and to foster peace. The increasing number of international treaties helped him to believe in a constant ‘constitutionalization’ of international law. The long-lasting fame of his book is mainly due to subsequent editions. Gradually, his International Law became Oppenheim’s International Law.

Keywords: international law; positivism; international law; Cambridge University; Oppenheim’s International Law

Article.  1745 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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