From International Law to Jessup's Transnational Law, from Transnational Law to Transnational Legal Orders


In Jessup’s 1956 Storrs Lecture he defined transnational law as “all law which regulates actions or events that transcend national frontiers,” which includes public international law, private international law, and “other rules which do not wholly fit into such standard categories.” Considerable recent scholarship on transnational law has focused on that residual category of “other rules” and their “private” character. There has, however, been a revolution in international law itself since 1956, reflected in a proliferation of international institutions, international courts, treaties, and so-called “soft law” technologies of governance. This chapter assesses the role of international law in the creation of what can be viewed as “transnational legal orders” that penetrate and imbue state law, shape social identity, and inform public and private legal practice. International law, this chapter contends, is even a more important shaper of the transnational than in Jessup’s time, and, in turn is shaped by it.

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