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    Unlocking boundaries: law reform and the progressive development of international law

    Flores Elizondo, Cecilia J and Droubi, Sufyan (2023) Unlocking boundaries: law reform and the progressive development of international law. In: Law reforms around the world: an international economic law perspective. Routledge Research in International Law . Routledge, London. ISBN 9781032359861 (hardback); 9781003329688 (ebook) (In Press)

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    Law reform in international law is crucial to address the most pressing global challenges. The chapter builds on boundaries to critically investigate and address the challenges that international law reform mechanisms, institutions, and projects face. The chapter situates the critical analysis in the interplay between symbolic and social boundaries, their institutionalisation in scholarship and practice, which informs our critique of said law reform initiatives. The focus is on the struggles amongst actors at the intersubjective level, leading to conceptual distinctions used to categorise legal fields over time and space (symbolic boundaries), which often materialise in social boundaries that are progressively institutionalised, to constrain access to resources. The chapter uses investor-state dispute settlement, and the renewables cases against Spain, as a case study on the manner that boundaries may jeopardise the ability of reform initiatives to tackle climate change, to explore how symbolic boundaries – field, time and space – become entrenched in theory and practice, acting as a barrier to reform international law. We argue that boundaries, as a critical lens, can contribute to unravel the identities and categories that become institutionalised in international law, acting as gatekeepers of law reform to address global problems holistically.

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