Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Jonathan Charney was one of the leading international legal scholars of his generation. He was the authority on the Law of the Sea and his magisterial four-volume work on international maritime boundaries quickly became the "vade mecum" for anyone involved in virtually any aspect of the Law of the Sea. But Law of the Sea was only a part of his awesome oeuvre. He wrote authoritatively on the use of force and humanitarian intervention; self-determination; customary international law and, in particular, soft law; international environmental law, international tribunals and jurisdiction, technology, and constitutional law. All of his work was marked by a concern for theoretical issues, extraordinary attention to detail and a commitment to the question of the contribution that law might make to the resolution of whatever problem he was addressing.

I would like to focus on five aspects of Jon's work in and impact on international law: his interest in customary international law; his distinctive methodology; his work on the Law of the Sea; his work on the American Journal of International Law; and his influence on colleagues worldwide. I apologize if, in doing this, my remarks become substantive. You cannot talk about Jonathan Charney or his work without being substantive.