A Transnational Rule of Law: Softening Some Conceptual Dichotomies

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference contributionAcademic


The rule of law idea is conceptually linked to the idea of a central governing authority; this is even clearer in its counterparts in other languages, such as the Rechtsstaat and the état de droit. Although there are developments in connecting rule of law elements to other public authorities, notably international bodies, sustained attention to reconceptualizing the rule of law for situations outside the realm of the national state is rare. In this paper, I want to develop further some ideas about a reconceptualization of the rule of law for transnational legal problems. I take up the work of three theorists in particular, Jeremy Waldron, Martin Krygier and Philip Selznick, and extend their normative ideas to situations of transnational law. In particular, my argument will be focused on three pairs of concepts: public and private, formal and informal, the ruler and the ruled. The rule of law is traditionally associated with first of the pair, but in transnational contexts this is not fruitful. The distinctions need to be softened in order to make the rule of law relevant here. This conceptual exercise can then lead up to a revised conceptualization of the rule of law as a normative idea to be applied to transnational legal practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2015
EventIVR conference, Special workshop on Transnational legal theory - Washington DC
Duration: 27 Jul 2015 → …


ConferenceIVR conference, Special workshop on Transnational legal theory
CityWashington DC
Period27/07/15 → …

Research programs

  • SAI 2010-01 RRL
  • SAI 2010-01.IV RRL sub 4


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