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: Suggested Citation