Introduction to the Leiden Journal of International Law/Opinio Juris Symposium

by dov jacobs

[Dov Jacobs is an Assistant Professor of International Law at Leiden University]

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Leiden Journal of International Law. This quarter of a century has seen the development from a student-created, student-run and most certainly student-read publication, to an internationally renowned professional journal in International Law and Legal Theory.

As pointed out by LJIL’s Editor-in-Chief, Larissa van den Herik, in her editorial to the most recent issue of the journal, this year also marks the continuing foray of the Journal into cyberspace. LJIL is now available on Westlaw and its readership extends well beyond the borders of Europe. It is also taking the lead, with other European journals, in trying to define a coherent policy in relation to free online repositories such as SSRN.

And finally, this first online symposium in collaboration with Opinio Juris marks LJIL’s discovery of the world of online blogging. Larissa’s editorial discusses the possible interaction between traditional legal scholarship and expert blogging, issues debated last year by LJIL’s other Editor-in-Chief, Jean d’Aspremont and myself (see here and here). While we might vary on the margins in relation to the exact quality and benefits of legal blogging (and of traditional legal scholarship), we all agree that these two modes of communication and dissemination are not mutually exclusive and cater to different audiences in different timeframes.

Most importantly, and irrespective of the form or the medium, international law expert blogging, with Opinio Juris as one of its forerunners, shares with LJIL the same underlying philosophy of stimulating debate. Indeed, LJIL has always prided itself for the discussions, even sometimes controversies, it has sparked, both within its pages and in the international community of scholars and practitioners at large. This exciting collaboration with Opinio Juris therefore comes fittingly as a natural extension into cyberspace of the fundamental values of openness and debate of LJIL.