Twail: A paradox within a paradox

Mohsen al Attar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


What insight do critical perspectives bring to international legal theory? In the following article, I answer this question through an examination of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). Troubled by geopolitical imbalance in the enterprise of international law, a group of critically minded scholars sought to expand the scope of legal scholarship. They would do so by growing a scholarly community sensitive to Third World concerns in their engagement with international law. Movements are known to collapse just as quickly as they sprout and it is testament to TWAIL’s force that, twenty years on, it is still gaining momentum. Self-described as a theory, method, sensibility, movement, and, as per the moniker, approach, TWAIL’s place in legal theory remains ambiguous. Drawing on a range of TWAIL scholars as well as journeymen commentators, I investigate, first, how its scholars represent TWAIL’s theoretical credentials and, second, where its contribution fits in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-196
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Community Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical international legal theory


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