Document Type

Chapter of Book

Publication Date



foreign relations law, comparative constitutional law, foreign relations law exceptionalism, restatements of the law


This draft first chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law considers what is potentially encompassed by the term “foreign relations law,” and what it might mean to think about it as a distinct field of law that can be compared and contrasted across national jurisdictions. The chapter begins by outlining some differences between foreign relations law and international law. It then describes the development of foreign relations law as a field of study within the United States and considers why, at least until recently, it has not been treated as a field in most other countries. Finally, the chapter highlights a central question for foreign relations law, which is the extent to which it (or at least some parts or elements of it) should be treated differently than other types of domestic law — a debate referred to in the United States as one over “foreign affairs exceptionalism.”

Library of Congress Subject Headings

United States--Foreign relations--Law and legislation, International law, International relations