But there's no such thing as international law!
August 29, 2008 7:49 PM   Subscribe

If you had to write a paper on something related to international law, what would it be?

I need a topic ideas for my student written piece for the law school journal I'm on. The journal itself is for international law, so the topic has to be international-y. I'm just drawing a blank for topics, and I have to submit a topic sheet by Monday. So, I turn to you for help, you cosmopolitan, current event-reading MeFites. What would you write your 60 page journal article on?

The topic suggestions can be anything international, current events or whatever. I just need something to get my wheels turning because I'm drawing a blank.

posted by ailouros08 to Law & Government (24 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Immigration? You can talk about some of the failed bills (HR 4437) and why they failed (mass protests). What's going on today in immigration. You can also delve into some of your own solutions. But really, I'm just throwing things out here. This is coming from a U.S. perspective, though.
posted by saxamo at 7:58 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Topical - at what point is a "nation" large enough to justify becoming a "state"?

Hypothetical - At what point in the Chunnel does the law change from the civil system to the common law system, and if a crime takes place at that exact place - does the accused have the choice of which system to use?
posted by birdsquared at 8:02 PM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Arctic mineral rights. This will become a big deal as the icecap shrinks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:03 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Piracy - history of enforcement to today. You may find that other than religious jurisdiction over states, this was one of the first examples universal jurisdiction.
posted by Pants! at 8:04 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
posted by mmf at 8:12 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: I'd be interested in the application of letters of marque and reprisal as effective means to police internet evildoers. There's lot's of bad guys out there operating outside of the reach of effective law enforcement. It's a similar problem to piracy, which led to letters of marque and privateering.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Jurisdictional questions concerning the International Criminal Court?

Territorial rights related to satellites/orbit paths? Surely this has come up somewhere, and as demand for satellite services of one kind and another grows and it gets a little crowded up there surely it will eventually cause a problem. Or make a nice theoretical one to play with.
posted by dilettante at 8:23 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: What do you do with an illegal alien who has committed a crime in the United States, and there's no functioning government to hand him over to?

My buddy the ICE agent has to deal with this all the time. Let's say you have a Somali national who has overstayed his U.S. visa, and now he's been picked up for drunk driving. Normally, you'd deport this fellow. But deport him to where exactly? Who are you going to hand him over to?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:33 PM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The application of international law in domestic courts is a nice one for the UK, but I see you're in the US.

Attribution and state responsibility might be quite nice as a pair.

Human rights (could bring in torture)? Use of force?
posted by djgh at 8:43 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Questions of self-determination and territorial integrity of existing states are extremely topical at the moment. Compare the situations in Kosovo and South Ossetia.
posted by grouse at 8:44 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: How did I miss that? grouse is on to a topical winner.
posted by djgh at 8:52 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: The Alien Tort Claims Act
posted by saslett at 8:59 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Extraordinary rendition
posted by lee at 8:59 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Another ICE-related topic -- Postville in a study of Homeland Security/Immigration issues -- Backgrounder and NYT Editorial.

Modern issues in "Taxation without representation" - implications of the "Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008," passed June 17th 2008. Comment from the Financial Advisors Forum.
posted by ruelle at 9:10 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Does international law degrade individual state sovereignty?
posted by wfrgms at 9:49 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: Upstream-downstream watershed partitions, how to determine (and enforce) who gets what? Access to aquifers in the Middle East fits here too...
posted by kittyprecious at 11:39 PM on August 29, 2008

Best answer: As part of the piracy thing (really 60 pages?), a large section on just how much of a steaming heap of contradictions the International Ship and Port Security Code is, especially at any point of intersection with the International Safety Management Code.

Or something about insurance and compensation rules for people whose cruise ships sink or airlines go bust while they're in transit (see [Zoom Halifax] for planes recently).
posted by Lebannen at 1:55 AM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: Not quite as exciting, but how about: International law as it relates to minor crimes, particularly in the internet context.

You know, piracy, ebay scams, spam, hacking and so on.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:03 AM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: There are some knotty issues regarding international marriages that have turned sour, where one partner (technically at least) abducts the children and takes them to another country.
posted by sour cream at 3:05 AM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: I'm going to be very serious and honest with you - a sixty page paper is a beast. It is a long, grueling slog through research. You will hate yourself. You will hate the paper. You will hate whatever it is you are writing about.

The topic you pick should be one that you choose, that you care about, because otherwise you'll be sitting in the library at four in the morning looking at research for a paper someone else picked the topic for and you will not feel as motivated as you would if you really wanted to learn about the subject.

I'm not scolding you for wanting help, although I'd think you could get better assistance from your peers at school or your professor. I'm just saying that you need to pick something you care passionately about for your own good as you journey through the process of writing a paper that long. It will make it less painful. Not much less painful, because that length of a paper is very, very painful. But slightly less so.
posted by winna at 4:02 AM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: International trade agreements that, via their structure or implementation, attempt to evade or supersede international law.
posted by Rykey at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: One especially emotional and complicated aspect of international law is deporting parents but not children. For example, the U.S. can deport a mother born in Honduras but not her U.S. born children even if it is a single-parent household. I don't know what international law says about this for respective nations, but it's a pretty big ethical issue that warrants attention IMHO.
posted by ShadePlant at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, they were all really helpful. I now have an idea of where to start....arrrrrrrgh, mateys. Anyways, I'll be marking everyone best answer because all of these suggestions were fantastic and insightful.
posted by ailouros08 at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2008

George Carlin said: If all children are special, then no children are special.
posted by megatherium at 8:22 PM on August 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

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