Transnationalism, unilateralism and international law

Gregory Shaffer, Daniel Bodansky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Scopus citations


    When we speak of transnational environmental law and legal process, we are concerned with the migration and impact of legal norms, rules and models across borders. Such migration can occur through the mediation of international law and institutions, or through the impact of unilateral legal developments in one jurisdiction that affect behaviour in others. The paper discusses the importance of assessing transnational environmental law in light of the constraints facing consent-based international environmental law, examines the trade-offs between transnational and international environmental law from the perspective of legitimacy, and concludes by discussing the important but delicate relation of international law to transnational environmental law as both a check and a consolidator. International law should guard against the self-serving unilateral use of transnational environmental law, but it should do so in a way that preserves (and does not shut off) the dynamic, responsive character of the transnational environmental law process. Otherwise international law itself will be delegitimized.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)31-41
    Number of pages11
    JournalTransnational Environmental Law
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Apr 2012


    • Climate change
    • International environmental law
    • Transnational law
    • Transnational legal process
    • Unilateralism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
    • Law


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