Dreaming Denationalized Law – Scholarship on Autonomous International Arbitration as Utopian Literature

1 London Review of International Law 35-62 (2013)

32 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2013 Last revised: 27 Dec 2014

See all articles by Ralf Michaels

Ralf Michaels

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Date Written: September 9, 2013

Abstract

A completely denationalised law is of course a utopia. But it is a utopia not just in the broad sense of being unrealistic, at least for the present, and perhaps also for the future. No, it is a utopia in the very literal sense of the word. Recall what utopia means in Greek: no place. Delocalised arbitration, non-state law, is, quite literally, no-place law. It thus makes up a utopia in the central meaning of the term.

International Commercial Arbitration should be just about money. But its scholarship is full of invocations of dreams, visions, faith, utopia. These are not merely ornamental. Rather, they invite us to read the scholarship as utopian literature. Doing so yields unexpected insights into the state of globalised law, and the precarious place of arbitration within it.

Keywords: international arbitration, non-state law, commercial arbitration

Suggested Citation

Michaels, Ralf, Dreaming Denationalized Law – Scholarship on Autonomous International Arbitration as Utopian Literature (September 9, 2013). 1 London Review of International Law 35-62 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2322693

Ralf Michaels (Contact Author)

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

Mittelweg 187
Hamburg, D-20148
Germany

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