Globalizing Representative Democracy: The Emergence of Multilayered International Parliamentarism

47 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2015

See all articles by Davor Jancic

Davor Jancic

Queen Mary University of London

Date Written: June 01, 2015


As globalization penetrates the realm of democracy, the internationalization of the institution of parliament, as the epitome of popular representation in liberal democracies - continues to be largely ignored by key studies in international law, constitutional law and global governance. This article seeks to place international parliamentarism on the radar of legal scholarship, reassess the value that representative democracy has in the globalized world, and demonstrate that understanding parliaments as purely domestic institutions immune from international integrative forces is no longer tenable. This article argues that international interparliamentary relations do not occur merely within isolated forums but can and do de facto evolve in layers of overlapping forums whenever circumstances allow it. To capture this phenomenon, the article conceptualizes multilayered international parliamentarism as developing in webs of linkages between the same parliamentary institutions in various bilateral and multilateral frameworks regarding the same region. This represents the most complex form of parliamentarism in contemporary global affairs. To demonstrate this, the article conducts an in-depth case study of relations between the parliaments of the EU and Brazil and examines the reaction of the Brazilian and supranational regional Latin American parliaments to the EU Returns Directive. The analysis shows that the traditional, inward-looking role of parliaments is gradually changing under the pressure of transnational policy challenges. Increased international contacts among parliaments accentuate their deliberative functions and create new avenues for parliamentary input in international affairs. This kind of interaction fosters the "diplomatic" actorship of parliaments in foreign affairs in a concerted attempt to counterbalance intergovernmental and transgovernmental ways of doing politics and making law.

Keywords: Globalization, global governance, parliament, democracy, European Union, Brazil, international parliamentary institutions, immigration

Suggested Citation

Jancic, Davor, Globalizing Representative Democracy: The Emergence of Multilayered International Parliamentarism (June 01, 2015). Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2015, pp. 197-242, Available at SSRN:

Davor Jancic (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

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