Why Being Law Matters

Chapter 1 of Transnational Legality: Stateless Law and International Arbitration (Oxford University Press 2014)

26 Pages Posted: 7 May 2014 Last revised: 26 Jul 2014

Date Written: May 6, 2014


Does it matter that we call something law? Discussions abound on the question whether we should put the label “law” on certain norms or systems of norms. There are many areas of social life - perhaps an increasing number of areas of social life - where it isn’t obvious what we should, or can, call law. International law is a classical terrain for such debates. Stateless law is another, notably in regard to international arbitration. Much scholarly work is put into these discussions. But does it actually matter? Why can’t we, like Humpty Dumpty, simply call law whatever we want? Are we really doing more, there, than settling semantics? Then again, if it does have consequences where we see law, shouldn’t these consequences be taken into consideration - actually be central - in our discussions of what we are willing to call law? Shouldn’t the consequences of affixing the label of law be the point of departures for investigations about the whereabouts of legality? These questions, illustrated by reference to international law, stateless law, and international arbitration, form the substance of the current chapter of the book TRANSNATIONAL LEGALITY: STATELESS LAW AND INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION (Oxford University Press 2014).

Keywords: concept of law, implications of legality, stateless law, international arbitration, international law

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Schultz, Thomas, Why Being Law Matters (May 6, 2014). Chapter 1 of Transnational Legality: Stateless Law and International Arbitration (Oxford University Press 2014), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2433466

Thomas Schultz (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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