Paul Stephan

The Restatement (Fourth): An Interview with One of the Two Co-ordinating Reporters

CO-AUTHORS Sarah M Nouwen H, Christian J Tams, and J H Weiler H
European Journal of International Law


1 The Restatement: By Whom and For Whom?

Symposium Editors:
Paul, an icebreaker, and tongue in cheek: Why ‘Restatement Fourth’ rather than ‘Fourth Restatement’? Is this book so special that it can override ordinarily applicable grammatical rules?

This is the custom of the American Law Institute (ALI), which we honour. One might note that on this particular point, our 2020 book reflecting on the Restatement does follow ordinary usage rather than ALI practice.

Symposium Editors:
To observers from outside US law circles, the ‘Restatement’ can appear as a weird animal also in other respects. In your contribution, Paul, you note that ‘the authorship of the Restatement … is a bit confusing’, not the least because the eventual product requires approval by ‘the attendees at the … American Law Institute’s annual meetings’. In your own experience, as co-ordinating reporter of the Restatement ‘project’, did this need for approval impose real constraints or was it more of a formality?

In my experience, the Council review is the most challenging, although we would take nothing to the Council that greatly agitated our advisers. The Council is the governing body of the Institute, something like a board of directors. The General Meeting is a useful sounding board that provides helpful editorial suggestions as well as prolonged colloquy on matters of substance. The General Meeting has the authority to amend the text, although exercise of that power is rare and did not happen to us.


Sarah M Nouwen et al., The Restatement (Fourth): An Interview with One of the Two Co-ordinating Reporters, 32 European Journal of International Law, 1371–1375 (2021).

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