UCL Faculty of Laws


The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World

08 June 2017, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Laws Thinker

Event Information

Open to



UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Professor Scott Shapiro (Yale Law School)
Chair: The Rt. Hon. Lord Sumption (Justice of The Supreme Court)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: 1 learning hour for Bar Standards Board training records
Series: Current Legal Problems 2016-17

About the lecture

On a hot summer afternoon in 1928, the leaders of the world assembled in Paris to outlaw war. Within the year, the treaty signed that day, known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, had been ratified by nearly every state in the world. War, for the first time in history, had become illegal the world over. But the promise of that summer day was fleeting. Within a decade, the entire world was back at war. And in the century that followed, the Pact was dismissed as an act of folly and an unmistakable failure.  In this lecture, based on my forthcoming book with Oona Hathaway, I will argue that this understanding is inaccurate. The Kellogg-Briand Pact marked the beginning of the end of war and the dawn of an entirely new world order.

This lecture will also emphasize the urgency of the present situation. We are at a crossroads: One path leads us back to the world before the Pact was signed, where might was right and where states could be forced to trade and enter treaties at the point of a gun. The other leads forward-toward a world where war remains illegal and states have to learn to harness the promise of cooperation to achieve their ends. Rather than reverse the accomplishments of the last century, I will argue that the future depends on our ability to preserve and improve them.

About the speaker

Scott Shapiro is the Charles F. Southmayd Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at Yale Law School. He joined the Yale Law faculty in July 2008 as a professor of law and philosophy. He previously taught law and philosophy at the University of Michigan and before that, was a professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. His areas of interest include jurisprudence, international law, constitutional law and theory, criminal law, family law, philosophy of action, and the theory of authority. He is the author of Legality (2011) and editor (with Jules Coleman) of The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (2002). He earned B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from Columbia University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of The Yale Law Journal.  He and Oona Hathaway are currently working on “The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World,” a history of international law as it has evolved from the 17th century through the present.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems annual lecture series was established over sixty years ago. The lectures are public, delivered on a weekly basis and chaired by members of the judiciary.

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) annual volume is published on behalf of UCL Laws by Oxford University Press, and features scholarly articles that offer a critical analysis of important current legal issues.

It covers all areas of legal sponsorship and features a wide range of methodological approaches to law. With its emphasis on contemporary developments, CLP is a major point of reference for legal scholarship.

Find out more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website