Global Legal Pluralism

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2009 Last revised: 8 Sep 2009

See all articles by Ralf Michaels

Ralf Michaels

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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Date Written: June 29, 2009


Some challenges of legal globalization closely resemble those formulated earlier for legal pluralism: the irreducible plurality of legal orders, the coexistence of domestic state law with other legal orders, the absence of a hierarchically superior position transcending the differences. This review discusses how legal pluralism engages with legal globalization and how legal globalization utilizes legal pluralism. It demonstrates how several international legal disciplines - comparative law, conflict of laws, public international law, and European Union law - have slowly begun to adopt some ideas of legal pluralism. It shows how traditional themes and questions of legal pluralism - the definition of law, the role of the state, of community, and of space - are altered under conditions of globalization. It addresses interrelations between different legal orders and various ways, both theoretical and practical, to deal with them. And it provides an outlook on the future of global legal pluralism as theory and practice of global law.

Keywords: state, community, international law, comparative law, conflict of laws, recognition

Suggested Citation

Michaels, Ralf, Global Legal Pluralism (June 29, 2009). Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Vol. 5, 2009, Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper No. 259, Available at SSRN:

Ralf Michaels (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law ( email )

Mittelweg 187
Hamburg, D-20148

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