Authority in Transnational Legal Theory

Authority in Transnational Legal Theory

Theorising Across Disciplines

Elgar Studies in Legal Theory

Edited by Roger Cotterrell and Maksymilian Del Mar

The increasing transnationalisation of regulation – and social life more generally – challenges the basic concepts of legal and political theory today. One of the key concepts being so challenged is authority. This discerning book offers a plenitude of resources and suggestions for meeting that challenge.

Chapter 9: Transnational legal authority: a socio-legal perspective

Roger Cotterrell

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

Abstract

This chapter argues that the range of authority claims now being made to support transnational regulation, and the kinds of legitimacy that these claims attract, cannot be adequately analysed in the terms that jurists usually assume in considering Western state law. A temporary distancing from orthodox juristic concepts is needed: to survey the range of authority claims now made and widely accepted, to consider how these can be compared and assessed, and to avoid rigid preconceptions about their potential legal significance. The chapter claims that Max Weber’s typology of legitimate domination can usefully guide a socio-legal approach that treats authority as a matter of practice and experience. Weber’s concept of charisma offers a partial template for studying kinds of authority that, at present, escape sufficient juristic attention. Juristic engagement with the diversity of forms of transnational authority now recognised in practice must base itself on socio-legal study of these forms and their conditions of existence. Only with the aid of such study can jurists gain perspective on the formidable challenges of negotiating a viable, shifting normative ordering of transnational regulation.

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