3.1. International law and international relations

In examining this possibility, the theoretical background to this chapter shifts into the fields of international law and international relations. The two are not synonymous. International law is the largely normative study of the legal relations that exist (or should exist) between international legal actors—generally states. International relations, on the other hand, is a branch of political science with a more descriptive programme and a more empirical method, which examines how international legal actors actually relate.