The Functions of Law and Their Challenges: The Differentiated Functionality of International Law
For publication in: (2019) 1 German Law Journal, Forthcoming
KFG Working Paper Series, No. 17, Berlin Potsdam Research Group 'The International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?'
29 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 2018
This paper illustrates the functional and conceptual variances of law in different contexts. Whereas legal actors on the international level might normatively aim for law to have a similar effect to that of domestic law, the way in which international and supranational law can fulfil these potential functions is different. Accordingly, this paper argues that an awareness with regard to the particularities and challenges that the potential functions of law encounter in the international and supranational context is needed. Moreover, it suggests an analytical lens to conceptually frame and locate current developments, offering a broader perspective on, or even an element of explication for, the apparent crisis that law is currently facing on the international and supranational scale. After describing the potential functions of law on an abstract scale and grouping them into analytical categories, the paper uses these categories as a lens in order to assess in which way international law can fulfil these potential functions, where priorities regarding certain functions might differ and where some aspects of these functions are challenged when law is made and applied in the international and supranational sphere.
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