In This Article The New Haven School of International Law

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Background: Legal Realism and Sociological Jurisprudence
  • Classical Texts
  • Main Features: Human Dignity and Social Values
  • Strength of the Approach: Global Applicability and Cultural Sensitivity
  • Critiques

International Law The New Haven School of International Law
by
Fozia Lone
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 March 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0178

Introduction

The jurisprudence of the New Haven school, otherwise known as the New Haven approach, is a contemporary theoretical and methodological approach to analyzing public international law through a policy-oriented perspective. This approach was founded by the Yale Law School faculty in the 1960s and proposes international law as the jurisprudence of social choices, which is applied to analyze various decision-making processes. The goal of the New Haven approach is to understand international law as a social process that aims at crafting minimum world public order based on the shared values of the international community. The New Haven approach was historically inspired by the tradition of legal realism and sociological jurisprudence. Its main features involve a focus on values, an appreciation for cultural diversity, and broad applicability to various fields and issues. While the New Haven approach suffers from several criticisms, it manages to retain enduring attractiveness due to its flexibility and efficacy in addressing policy issues.

General Overviews

The development of international law under the New Haven school jurisprudence is understood as a process of communication that represents the expectations of the international community. McDougal and Reisman 1980 emphasize that detailed and rational improvements in the global prescribing function can be acquired by referring to the subjectivities of those who participate in the New Haven approach and ascertaining their expectations about content, authority, and control. Reisman, et al. 2004 states that this approach provides social scientists relevant intellectual tools to understand the prescription and application of policy to maintain community order and to achieve social goals. The authors go on to state that the normative social goal of the New Haven approach is the maximization of shared community values, such as wealth, enlightenment, skill, well-being, affection, respect, and rectitude. Reisman and Willard 2011, building on the New Haven jurisprudence, delineates the factors shaping conduct and performance, and encourages responsible decision makers to reflect on these factors and develop personal performance codes that are compatible with human dignity.

  • McDougal, Myres S., and W. Michael Reisman. “The Prescribing Function in World Constitutive Process: How International Law Is Made.” Yale Studies in World Public Order 6.2 (1980): 249–284.

    E-mail Citation »

    This article recommends detailed and rational improvements in the global prescribing function by making reference to the subjectivities of the communicatees of a prescriptive message and the intellectual operations incumbent upon them. This can be done by ascertaining their expectations about content, authority, and control.

  • Reisman, W. Michael, Manoush H. Arsanjani, Siegfried Wiessner, and Gayl S. Westerman. International Law in Comparative Perspective. New York: Foundation Press, 2004.

    E-mail Citation »

    To understand the process of decision making, the Yale Law School jurisprudence provides social scientists the relevant intellectual tools to grasp the prescription and application of policy to maintain community order and achieve social goals. The authors state that the normative social goal of the New Haven approach is the maximization of shared community values, such as wealth, enlightenment, skill, well-being, affection, respect, and rectitude. They also emphasize that the application of this approach is not solely limited to international law.

  • Reisman, W. Michael, and Andrew R. Willard. “In Personal Performance Codes, One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Clarifying the Professional Ethical Responsibility of Decision Makers.” Asia Pacific Law Review 19.1 (2011): 1–11.

    DOI: 10.1080/10192557.2011.11788238E-mail Citation »

    This article applies the New Haven jurisprudence to identify the seven component functions of administrative decision-making and the five core intellectual tasks involved. It argues that responsible decision makers should develop personal performance codes based on the principle that the decision maker should seek to establish a public order of human dignity.

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