Beyond Westphalia: Competitive Legalization in Emerging Transnational Regulatory Systems

31 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2006

See all articles by Errol Meidinger

Errol Meidinger

University at Buffalo Law School; University of Freiburg

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2006


This paper analyzes several emerging transnational regulatory systems that engage, but are not centered on state legal systems. Driven primarily by civil society organizations, the new regulatory systems use conventional technical standard setting and certification techniques to establish market-leveraged, social and environmental regulatory programs. Individual sectors generally have multiple regulatory programs that compete with, but also mimic and reinforce each other. While forestry is the most developed example, similar patterns are evident in agriculture, fisheries, apparel, and mining, among other sectors.

The paper describes the institutional structures and routines of the new regulatory systems, their interactions with state based systems, and some possible broader implications for law and society. Among other things, it notes that the emerging regulatory systems permeate their sectors with increasingly broad and deep rule systems and seek to remain highly dynamic at the same time. The paper closes with a brief discussion of whether the systems might be sketching the outlines of new forms of transnational democracy.

Keywords: apparel, certification, democracy, environmental law, environmental management, fisheries, forestry, human rights, international law, legalization, legal pluralism, mining, organic agriculture, participation, polyarchy, regulation, standardization, sustainable development, transparency

JEL Classification: K20, K32, K40, L50, M30, M40, N40, O38

Suggested Citation

Meidinger, Errol, Beyond Westphalia: Competitive Legalization in Emerging Transnational Regulatory Systems (July 2006). Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2006-019, Available at SSRN: or

Errol Meidinger (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

520 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-6692 (Phone)
716-645-2064 (Fax)

University of Freiburg ( email )

Tennebacher Str. 4
Freiburg, 79106

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