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Journal Articles Leiden Journal of International Law Year : 2019

Three International Lawyers in a Hall of Mirrors


This article uses the metaphor of the hall of mirrors to produce three distinct images of the international lawyer. The hall of mirrors refers here to the extent to which international legal discourses are built on self-referential mechanisms tantamount to mutually reflecting mirrors, by virtue of which movements and postures are reproduced ad infinitum without disclosing the origin thereof. According to the first image produced by virtue of the metaphor, the international lawyer feels invincible and fully makes use of the hall of mirrors to allow international legal discourses to obscure their origins and thrive in foundationlessness. The second image depicts a vulnerable international lawyer who is deprived of self-referential mechanisms for the production of international legal discourses because the mirrors have been shattered or the light turned off or simply because she has closed her eyes. The third image is that of a self-reflective international lawyer who is neither invincible nor vulnerable but consciously standing between the mutually reflecting mirrors wearing fissured spectacles and with no intention to smash the mirror, turn off the light or close her eyes. By developing these three distinct images, this article sheds light on how the contingency of legal doctrines, modes of legal reasoning and legal categories is experienced by international lawyers.


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hal-03227986 , version 1 (17-05-2021)



Jean d'Aspremont. Three International Lawyers in a Hall of Mirrors. Leiden Journal of International Law, 2019, 32 (3), pp.367 - 381. ⟨10.1017/S0922156519000190⟩. ⟨hal-03227986⟩
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