Informal International Lawmaking: An Assessment and Template to Keep it Both Effective and Accountable

INFORMAL INTERNATIONAL LAWMAKING, J. Pauwelyn, R. Wessel, J. Wouters, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012

Posted: 16 Mar 2012

See all articles by Joost Pauwelyn

Joost Pauwelyn

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID); Georgetown University Law Centre

Ramses A. Wessel

University of Twente - Centre for European Studies

Jan Wouters

KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

Date Written: March 15, 2012

Abstract

This paper summarizes the findings of a two-year research project on "informal international lawmaking" (IN-LAW), that is, cross-border normative activity involving non-traditional actors, processes and outputs. We evaluate the likely reasons for the rise of IN-LAW and weigh possible options in response. We then assesses the legitimacy of both new forms of cooperation and traditional international law, also tackling the questions of whether new forms benefit powerful actors and how to keep activity accountable. Finally, focusing on the short to medium term, we question whether some of the new outputs of international cooperation could already be seen as part of traditional international law and how traditional and new forms are (or could be) interacting before international courts and tribunals. In this respect, we propose certain procedural meta-norms against which new cooperation forms ought to be checked, which we refer to as 'thick stakeholder consensus' imposing limits in respect of actors (authority), process, and output. Intriguingly, this benchmark may be normatively superior (rather than inferior) to the validation requirements of traditional international law, coined here as 'thin State consent'.

Keywords: informal international lawmaking, private regulation, soft law, legitimacy, accountability, state consent, fragmentation, international courts and tribunals

Suggested Citation

Pauwelyn, Joost and Wessel, Ramses A. and Wouters, Jan, Informal International Lawmaking: An Assessment and Template to Keep it Both Effective and Accountable (March 15, 2012). INFORMAL INTERNATIONAL LAWMAKING, J. Pauwelyn, R. Wessel, J. Wouters, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2023094

Joost Pauwelyn (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, Geneva CH-1211
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://graduateinstitute.ch

Georgetown University Law Centre ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Ramses A. Wessel

University of Twente - Centre for European Studies ( email )

Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/pa/staff/wessel/

Jan Wouters

KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies ( email )

House De Dorlodot - Deberiotstraat 34
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalgovernancestudies.eu

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