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Rediscovering the importance of Antarctic Law for the early twenty-first century

Arpi, B ORCID: 0000-0003-4714-7918 and McGee, J ORCID: 0000-0002-2093-5896 2022 , 'Rediscovering the importance of Antarctic Law for the early twenty-first century' , Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 76, no. 3 , pp. 248-265 , doi:

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International law provides a system of legal order for the conduct of international relations. Within this system, states may constitute regional legal regimes in a continuous geographical area to address their own regional problems. In Antarctica, states active in the region have developed a sui generis regional legal regime (conceptualised here as 'Antarctic Law') to address problems of the Antarctic. During most of the twentieth century, Antarctic Law played a central role in understanding human interaction within, and international ordering of, the Antarctic region. However, over the last two decades, understanding the importance of the legal and regional nature of Antarctic law has become less prominent. Instead, Antarctic scholarship (including legal analysis) has moved towards a universalist perspective, interdisciplinary scholarship and critical approaches. We argue these approaches have under-appreciated the importance of the legal ordering of the region. New challenges within the region will require responses that draw on this regional legal ordering. This paper therefore aims to be a first step towards rediscovering the importance of the concept of ‘Antarctic Law’ as a regional and legal regime with a key role in providing successful international order within the Antarctic region to meet the challenges of the early twenty-first century.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Arpi, B and McGee, J
Keywords: Antarctica, law, international law, regionalism, legal regimes, environment
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of International Affairs
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1035-7718
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2022 Australian Institute of International Affairs

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