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The Appeal of the Project of Global Constitutionalism to Public International Lawyers

Christine E. J. Schwöbel

University of Liverpool, School of Law

November 22, 2010

German Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 1-22, 2011

The discourse on global constitutionalism has been gaining momentum with public international lawyers. This paper endeavors to understand the discourse by zooming in on international lawyers themselves and seeks to explain what it is that draws international lawyers to the debate. It emerges that the idea of global constitutionalism embodies important concerns of public international lawyers about the current status of their field ensued by globalisation. There are three principal motivations that reveal the tenacity of the debate: First, international lawyers are interested in the allocation of power in the international sphere. Constitutionalism provides an apt tool for restricting political power through legal expertise while at the same time constituting power in a globalised world. Second, international lawyers have a deeply entrenched interest in seeing the regulation of international society through law. The pull of this argument lies in the fact that it maintains the status of international law as a profession which is at the heart of social change. Third, a strong motivation to engage in global constitutionalism is that it may be a means of ensuring the legitimation of international law itself. Global constitutionalism appears to offer the irresistible prospect of awarding legitimacy to the field by providing it with a legal framework with moral authority. These motivations all have in common that they allow international lawyers to make a claim to their relevance in a globalised world. Lastly, it is considered just how irresistible the idea of global constitutionalism is to international lawyers: Is it an appeal in the sense of an attraction, is it a survival tactic, or is it a symptom of an addiction for order?

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Date posted: November 24, 2010 ; Last revised: March 20, 2012

Suggested Citation

Schwöbel, Christine E. J., The Appeal of the Project of Global Constitutionalism to Public International Lawyers (November 22, 2010). German Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 1-22, 2011 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1713201 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1713201

Contact Information

Christine E. J. Schwöbel (Contact Author)
University of Liverpool, School of Law ( email )
United Kingdom
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