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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/93

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INTERNATIONAL LAW AND PEACE CONFERENCE.

arbitration agreements, whether embodied in treaties or otherwise; to it also will be sent the result of all special arbitrations hereafter resorted to, and in it will be deposited the papers, pleadings, and other documents, and especially the decisions of the permanent court, as well as those of any special courts which may hereafter be created from time to time. These archives will thus furnish a wealth of material not locked up or available only by jurists of the particular state where they may happen to be situated, as has too often been the case heretofore, but accessible alike to the great text writers and commentators of all nations. The criticisms and opinions of eminent text writers have heretofore been of great value in the improvement of international law, and under these new and more favorable conditions their influence should be even more beneficial in the future.

To the works of text writers will in future be added the able discussions of counsel and the learned opinions of judges handed down in writing, with the reasons upon which they are founded.[1] Where rules and usages are becoming obsolete or obviously hostile to the growth of opinion, international judges may feel themselves bound for a time by them and give their decisions accordingly, but they may embody in their written decisions an obiter dictum which shall prove the death knell of the old rule and the establishment of a healthier one. Many are the wholesome changes that have thus been wrought in English "judge-made law" as the direct result of learned and convincing obiter dicta.

The interest which will thus be stimulated in the whole subject of international law will promote its study in all nations. Hitherto this branch of legal education has been rather slighted; not being regarded as essential to the ordinary practitioner, it has been neglected for the petty provisions of some state code or involved corporation law, but the influences already at work in favor of a more thorough and scholarly study of this branch will be effectively aided under the new conditions.

Though the law of nations should be uniform in all countries, a comparison of the leading works in different countries, English and German for instance, will reveal many differences partly traceable to the particular system of law in which the author was grounded, and in part to his peculiar "judicial instinct." It is not often that one finds an English or American lawyer thoroughly grounded in the Roman system and the modern Continental systems founded upon it; quite as rare is it to find a Continental lawyer learned in the system of English jurisprudence. There have


  1. For an admirable example, see the published proceedings of the Paris Tribunal in the Venezuelan case.