Rulemaking and Adjudication in International Law

49 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2008 Last revised: 21 Dec 2011

See all articles by David T. Zaring

David T. Zaring

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

Date Written: July 8, 2008


This article posits that the creation and development of international regulatory regimes has so far required a choice between rulemaking and adjudication. Regulators that wish to make policy broadly and prospectively have done so informally and through rules. More elaborate and powerful regulatory regimes, however, have tended to feature the creation of an adjudicator. This choice of policymaking form has important, but often overlooked, procedural consequences. Choice of form affects the effectiveness, flexibility, accountability, and transparency of an international regulatory regime. The article examines three characteristic ways that international regulators make rules. For adjudication, it introduces three tribunals that exemplify that process. It uses the distinction between rulemaking and adjudication to organize these disparate international institutions and concludes with recommendations that would help to increase the formality of the new breed of international rulemakers, and conversely increase the flexibility of the new set of international tribunals.

Keywords: Rulemaking, Adjudication, International Law, Regulatory Regimes, Adjudicator, Principles-Based Regulation, ICSID

JEL Classification: F02, F10, F13, F14, F15, K33

Suggested Citation

Zaring, David T., Rulemaking and Adjudication in International Law (July 8, 2008). Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2008, Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) Inaugural Conference 2008 Paper, Available at SSRN:

David T. Zaring (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )

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