On Tuesday, 21 November, the Great Hall of Justice was the scene of the book presentation of the newest book in the Oppenheim series Oppenheim’s International Law: United Nations. In front of invited guests from the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, the Carnegie Foundation, and legal specialists from The Netherlands and abroad, this book was presented as the result of many years of hard and diligent work by Dame Rosalyn Higgins and her supporting staff of 4 specialists, Philippa Webb, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran and James Sloan.

The purpose of the publication is “…to provide a comprehensive study of the legal practice of the UN…”. Speeches were given by the Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Mr. Philippe Couvreur and Mr. John Louth, Editor-in-Chief for Oxford University Press. Mr Louth says that Oppenheim’s International Law has a formidable legacy among international lawyers and he expects the book to be relied on far into the future. A third speaker was Professor Suzanne Werder representing the International Balzan Prize Foundation. This foundation had awarded Dame Higgins their Balzan Prize for International Law in 2007, the monetary part of the prize being used to fund the academic activities leading to this new publication.

The second part of the presentation consisted of a conversation between Dame Rosalyn Higgins and His Excellency Judge Peter Tomka, during which Dame Higgins explained the conception and history of this new standard work. After the conversation session, Mr. Louth presented a special blue copy of the new publication, which was presented to Dame Higgins by Judge Tomka.

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The United Nations, whose specialized agencies were the subject of an Appendix to the 1958 edition of Oppenheim's International Law: Peace, has expanded beyond all recognition since its founding in 1945.This volume represents a study that is entirely new, but prepared in the way that has become so familiar over succeeding editions of Oppenheim. An authoritative and comprehensive study of the United Nations' legal practice, this volume covers the formal structures of the UN as it has expanded over the years, and all that this complex organization does. All substantive issues are addressed in separate sections, including among others, the responsibilities of the UN, financing, immunities, human rights, preventing armed conflicts and peacekeeping, and judicial matters. In examining the evolving structures and ever expanding work of the United Nations, this volume follows the long-held tradition of Oppenheim by presenting facts uncoloured by personal opinion, in a succinct text that also offers in the footnotes a wealth of information and ideas to be explored. It is book that, while making all necessary reference to the Charter, the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and other legal instruments, tells of the realities of the legal issues as they arise in the day to day practice of the United Nations. Missions to the UN, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, practitioners of international law, academics, and students will all find this book to be vital in their understanding of the workings of the legal practice of the UN.

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