Transnational Mutual Recognition Regimes: Governance Without Global Government

56 Pages Posted: 17 May 2005 Last revised: 25 Nov 2015

See all articles by Kalypso A. Nicolaidis

Kalypso A. Nicolaidis

University of Oxford

Gregory Shaffer

University of California, Irvine School of Law


Mutual recognition regimes set the conditions governing the recognition of the validity of foreign laws, regulations, standards, and certification procedures among states in order to assure host country regulatory officials and citizens that the application of foreign rules within their borders is "compatible" with their own. They thus are always "managed" and differ from a pure "free trade" model by involving a (often highly) political process of assessment of mutual compatibility between national systems of governance. The paper addresses the relationship of mutual recognition with the principles of extraterritoriality, national treatment, and harmonization. It assesses the factors that explain the rise and operation of mutual recognition regimes and their constraints. It examines these regimes from the normative perspectives of administrative accountability, private rights, and democratic legitimacy, and in relation to concerns about power asymmetries. It concludes by showing how mutual recognition regimes provide a lens for assessing the overall global administrative law project.

Keywords: global administrative law, mutual recognition, managed mutual recognition, global governance, extraterritoriality, national treatment, harmonization, accountability, legitimacy

JEL Classification: K29, K34

Suggested Citation

Nicolaidis, Kalypso A. and Shaffer, Gregory C., Transnational Mutual Recognition Regimes: Governance Without Global Government. IILJ Working Paper No. 2005/6; Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 68, pp. 263-318, 2005; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1007. Available at SSRN: or

Kalypso A. Nicolaidis (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

United Kingdom

Gregory C. Shaffer

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92612
United States

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