Theoretical Premises of ‘Regionalism and the Unity of International Law’

11 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2012 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Dirk Pulkowski

Dirk Pulkowski

Permanent Court of Arbitration

Date Written: 2012


A principal concern of 20th century international lawyers was to ensure that international law would evolve from a selective jus publicum europaeum to a universal international legal order. The modern multilateral convention as a paradigm of global lawmaking, open for accession by any state, was no doubt one of the driving forces of the globalization and universalization of international law. Yet universalization appears to have given rise to a countervailing trend as the Conference organizers observe: the development of plurilateral forms of international law at the regional level. The title of the Conference’s initial agora, ‘Regionalism and the Unity of International Law’, subtly implied a threefold premise. First, the empirical proposition that regional lawmaking has resulted in regionalist approaches to international law. Second, the jurisprudential proposition that international law should be conceived as a unified international legal order. Third, the proposition that the theoretical foundation of the unity of international law is being affected by regional approaches to international law. This chapter is intended to probe each of these premises, focusing in particular on theories of unity within the legal order.

Keywords: International law, legal theory, unity of international law, fragmentation of international law, regionalism

Suggested Citation

Pulkowski, Dirk, Theoretical Premises of ‘Regionalism and the Unity of International Law’ (2012). European Society of International Law (ESIL) Conference Paper Series Paper No. 16, Available at SSRN:

Dirk Pulkowski (Contact Author)

Permanent Court of Arbitration ( email )

Peace Palace
Carnegieplein 2
The Hague, 2517 KJ

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