A Look Back at Looking Forward: Ronald St. John Macdonald and the Future of International Law
Canadian Yearbook of International Law
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In May 1973, an article entitled “International Law and Society in the Year 2000” written by Ronald St. John Macdonald, Gerald Morris, and Douglas Johnson, appeared in the Canadian Bar Review. The article attempted to provide a vision of what international law would look like three decades in the future. If Macdonald and his co-authors were mistaken about some of the details they forecasted, they were deWnitely right about the multiplication of actors, the growing diversity of sources, and the expanded coverage of international law. More particularly, they were correct in their assessment that environmental concerns — as opposed to the more evident military, humanitarian, or criminal ones — would be the principal catalyst for change in times to come. A look back at “International Law and Society in the Year 2000” therefore offers a valuable retrospective on Macdonald’s contribution to international law and helps to frame the central question that we must take up in our own time: how will international law evolve from here?