Transnational Governance Interactions: A Critical Review of the Legal Literature

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 35/2015

TBGI Project Subseries No. 21

44 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015

See all articles by Stepan Wood

Stepan Wood

Peter A Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 14, 2015


Overlaps and interactions among diverse legal rules, actors and orders have long preoccupied legal scholars. This preoccupation has intensified in recent years as transnational efforts to regulate business have proliferated. This proliferation has led to increasingly frequent and intense interactions among transnational regulatory actors and programs. These transnational business governance interactions (TBGI) are the subject of an emerging interdisciplinary research agenda. This paper situates the TBGI research agenda in the broader field of transnational legal theory by presenting a critical review of the ways in which legal scholars have addressed the phenomenon of governance interactions. Legal scholars frequently recognize the importance of transnational governance interactions, but their accounts are tentative and incomplete for the most part. Scholars bring varying — often sharply divergent — theoretical, methodological and normative perspectives to bear on the issue. Some scholars focus on rule formation, others on monitoring or adjudication. Some investigate cooperation and convergence, others conflict and competition. Some examine interactions within a particular organization or program, others among programs or even between entire normative orders. Some emphasize description or explanation, others evaluation or prescription. In short, while understanding intersections among the multiple sites, scales and instances of law is a central concern of transnational legal scholarship, the picture that emerges is incomplete and fragmented.

Keywords: Transnational, business, governance, interaction, international law, legal process, legal order, regime complex, legalization, fragmentation, soft law, network, comparative law, regulation, legitimation, competition, co-opetition, non-state actors, multilevel governance, experimentalism

JEL Classification: G23, G28, G38, J83, K20, K31, K32, K33, L67, M14, N20, N30

Suggested Citation

Wood, Stepan, Transnational Governance Interactions: A Critical Review of the Legal Literature (August 14, 2015). Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 35/2015, TBGI Project Subseries No. 21, Available at SSRN: or

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