The Fragmentation of International Trade Law

26 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2010 Last revised: 24 Oct 2010

See all articles by Panos Delimatsis

Panos Delimatsis

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School

Date Written: February 18, 2010


The fragmentation of general international law is not a new phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is a sign of our era and essentially results from the legal pluralism that characterizes it. Increasing adjudication also makes the study of this concept even more fascinating. The phenomenon of fragmentation manifests itself with particular tension in international trade law. Private interests and commercial transactions can be irreversibly affected by the absence of legal security or, worse, by the existence of contradictory rulings delivered by adjudicating bodies, which constantly compete for increasing jurisdiction and thus influence. This article reviews the discussion of fragmentation of international law and critically analyzes the problem of absence of coherence in regulating trade. By focusing on adjudication, permissible sources of law, and interpretation, it argues for more openness towards non-trade law when interpreting trade rules.

JEL Classification: F02, F13, F15, F18, F53, K33

Suggested Citation

Delimatsis, Panagiotis, The Fragmentation of International Trade Law (February 18, 2010). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2010-010, Available at SSRN: or

Panagiotis Delimatsis (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

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Postbus 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
0031 13 466 8251 (Phone)
0031 13 466 8047 (Fax)


Tilburg Law School ( email )

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Tilburg, 5000 LE

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