In 2004, the Max Planck Institute launched yet another generation of its widely-used encyclopedia on public international law, this time entitled the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEPIL), under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum. As befits a new century, the MPEPIL was first unveiled in an online version in 2008, followed in 2012 by a print version in ten volumes plus an index volume. Even a cursory comparison with the previous version reveals that this compendium is a whole new ball game. In terms of content, only 12 of the prior edition’s articles were taken verbatim into the new version, while some 350 articles were dropped, the rest were rewritten, and more than 700 new articles were added, including in areas of considerable growth, such as international criminal law, international dispute settlement, trade law and environmental law. All told, this edition contains more than 1,600 articles, beginning with the AAPL v. Sri Lanka case and ending with “Zones of Peace.” Each article contains cross-references to related articles and concludes with a bibliography of the most significant primary materials and secondary sources on the topic. All told, there is little question that the MPEPIL lives up to its claim as the definitive reference work for international law, especially for a new generation of international law scholars who are more comfortable clicking rather than thumbing their way to answers.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-101; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-101
Sean D. Murphy, Book Review of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Rüdiger Wolfrum, Ed., Oxford University Press, 2012) in 107 American Journal of International Law 510 (2013).