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Soft Law as Foreign Relations Law

60 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014  

Jean Galbraith

University of Pennsylvania Law School

David T. Zaring

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

Date Written: May 15, 2014

Abstract

The United States increasingly relies on “soft law” and, in particular, on cooperation with foreign regulators to make domestic policy. The implementation of soft law at home is typically understood to depend on administrative law, as it is American agencies that implement the deals they conclude with their foreign counterparts. But that understanding has led courts and scholars to raise questions about whether soft law made abroad can possibly meet the doctrinal requirements of the domestic discipline. This Article proposes a new doctrinal understanding of soft law implementation. It argues that, properly understood, soft law implementation lies at the intersection of foreign relations law and administrative law. In light of the strong powers accorded to the executive under foreign relations law, this new understanding will strengthen the legitimacy and legality of soft law implementation and make it less subject to judicial challenge. Understanding that soft law is foreign relations law will further the domestic implementation of informal international agreements in areas as different as conflict diamonds, international financial regulation, and climate change.

Suggested Citation

Galbraith, Jean and Zaring, David T., Soft Law as Foreign Relations Law (May 15, 2014). Cornell Law Review, Vol. 99, No. 4, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437572

Jean Galbraith

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

David T. Zaring (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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