Theorizing the Corporation in International Law

Florian Hoffmann and Anne Orford (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Forthcoming

UNSW Law Research Paper 2014-21

24 Pages Posted: 16 May 2014

See all articles by Fleur E. Johns

Fleur E. Johns

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 16, 2014

Abstract

The corporation has long been a feature of international legal practice and argument. However, relatively little by way of explicit theorization of the corporation has been done in international legal writing. Rather, this theorization has tended to take place as a dimension of practice, en route to some other scholarly or regulatory objective, and the corporate form has commonly been approached on the basis of its similarity to, or influence upon, some other feature or agent of the international legal order (or vice versa). This paper argues that the paragnostic way in which international lawyers have envisaged the corporation on the global plane has contributed to the sense of power, autonomy and coherence with which the corporation has been ‘naturally’ invested in much international legal writing, the promise the corporation is often deemed to hold for international legal renewal, and the influence that the corporate model has exerted as a benchmark for global decision-making across a range of settings. Through an oblique, analogical approach to corporations, international legal writing has kept alive the prospect of the corporate form delivering some regenerative supplement to the international legal order, even while routinely identifying the corporation with global legal dysfunction or deficiency. This chapter examines and compares patterns of thought along these lines in two areas of international legal doctrine, practice and scholarly work: international investment law and international human rights.

Keywords: corporations, international law, legal theory, international investment law, human rights

Suggested Citation

Johns, Fleur E., Theorizing the Corporation in International Law (May 16, 2014). Florian Hoffmann and Anne Orford (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Forthcoming; UNSW Law Research Paper 2014-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437721 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2437721

Fleur E. Johns (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

UNSW Australia
Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 9893 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/fleur-johns

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