Table of Contents

Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Catherine Brölmann and Yannick Radi

The global landscape has changed profoundly over the past decades. As a result, the account of the making of international law based on the traditional theory of sources is increasingly challenged. This Handbook offers a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of international law‐making today. It takes stock at both the conceptual and the empirical level of the instruments, processes, and actors involved in the making of international law. The book contains essays by leading scholars on key aspects of international law-making and on law-making in the main issue areas, with an interest in classic processes as well as new developments and shades of normativity.

Chapter 13: International lawmaking by hybrid bodies: The case of financial regulation

Michael S. Barr

Subjects: law - academic, legal theory, public international law


The financial crisis nearly decimated global financial markets and in fact devastated the real economies of the United States and Europe, with concomitant global harm. The crisis exposed fundamental weaknesses—both procedural and substantive—in the international financial regulatory architecture. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization were never equipped to deal with the growing complexity, breadth, and size of global finance, and instead left rulemaking and supervision largely to the domestic arena. The cross-border rules that were developed by national regulators and the international standard-setting bodies proved woefully ineffective. Despite strategies to increase the accountability and legitimacy of these hybrid standard-setting bodies, the rules failed substantively, and overwhelmingly. The ‘soft-law’ architecture left unchecked a decades-long race to the bottom, and proved weak in the face of global financial institutions. The crisis raises two fundamental questions: first, how can we best build a substantively more effective international financial architecture with more than one architect? And second, how can we foster a global regulatory architecture that is legitimate and accountable—one that reflects our most basic values?

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