A Normative Theory of Sovereignty Transfers

85 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2013 Last revised: 25 Feb 2014

See all articles by Guglielmo Verdirame

Guglielmo Verdirame

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law; King's College London; King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

News of its imminent demise notwithstanding, state sovereignty remains a central concept in international law, in legal and political theory, and in the practice of states. Political factors no doubt play a prominent role in explaining its endurance, but its normative foundations are no less important. This article examines those foundations in the context of the transfer of sovereignty from states to international organisations: why should the sovereignty of the state continue to matter? To what limits should these sovereignty transfers be subject?

International and domestic courts have increasingly had to grapple with the ‘first principles’ of sovereignty. This article attempts, first, to cast some philosophical light on the jurisprudence of these courts by distilling and examining the two central questions raised by sovereignty transfers: the liberty question (What limits does the liberty of the individual pose to sovereignty transfers?); and the sovereignty question (How much sovereignty should a state be permitted to transfer?). The second objective of the article is to formulate a normative argument for state sovereignty which, while accommodating and in most ways even supporting of supranational (or non-state) sovereignty, also identifies a principled liberal basis for setting limits to it.

Keywords: international organizations, state sovereignty, political theory, supranational sovereignty

Suggested Citation

Verdirame, Guglielmo, A Normative Theory of Sovereignty Transfers (May 1, 2013). 49(2) Stanford Journal of International Law (2013) 371-424., King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2014-3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2297778

Guglielmo Verdirame (Contact Author)

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

King's College London ( email )

King's College London, Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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