Transnational Access to Justice

32 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021

See all articles by Christopher A. Whytock

Christopher A. Whytock

University of California, Irvine, School of Law

Date Written: February 23, 2021


The study of access to justice has long had a strong domestic focus. This Article draws attention to a different aspect of access to justice, one that has, so far, received comparatively little attention: transnational access to justice. It presents a typology of transnational access-to-justice problems, explains why those problems are distinctive and important to understand and address, and proposes an agenda for further transnational access-to-justice research.

Part I defines the concept of transnational access to justice. Part II develops a typology of transnational access-to-justice problems, including different types of transnational access-to-justice gaps and conflicts. It shows that although some transnational access-to-justice problems are similar to those that arise in domestic disputes, they tend to be exacerbated by the transnational context. Other transnational access-to-justice problems are distinctive because they result from the decentralized structure of the global legal system and generally do not arise in domestic disputes. Part II also shows that transnational access to justice is affected by international institutions in ways that domestic access to justice ordinarily is not. Part III argues that another reason to focus on access to justice from a transnational, as well as a domestic perspective, is that access to justice is a global governance problem, not only a domestic governance problem.

By incorporating the perspective of parties in transnational disputes, and by situating access to justice in the context of the global legal system and global governance, this Article aims to contribute to a more complete understanding of the range of access-to-justice problems that exist in the world and how those problems might be mitigated.

Keywords: Access to Justice, Court Access, Transnational Litigation, International Litigation, Conflict of Laws, Private International Law, International Law

Suggested Citation

Whytock, Christopher A., Transnational Access to Justice (February 23, 2021). Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Vol. 38, No. 2, 2020, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2021-15, Available at SSRN:

Christopher A. Whytock (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine, School of Law ( email )

401 East Peltason Drive, Suite 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-8000
United States
(949) 824-0496 (Phone)


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