Law Text Culture


In this article, I study the role of prefatory texts in international law. Based on Gerard Genette’s analysis of paratexts, I examine how prefaces shape the expectations of the reader through indications of genre, method and authorship. The first section introduces the notion of ‘paratext’ and provides some illustrations in treaties and documents of the International Court of Justice. The second section focuses specifically on a work that has broadly been regarded as foundational for the discipline of international law: Vitoria’s De Indis Et De Iure Belli. Through its analysis of paratext, this article provides a new lens on textual products and the creation of authorship in international law.