Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl

This pioneering Research Handbook with contributions from renowned experts, provides an overview of the general doctrines making up the law of international organizations.


Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, european law, human rights, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, international relations


International organizations, in their current form, have been around since the nineteenth century, and since the 1920s the law relating to them (international institutional law, or the law of international organizations) has been dominated by a single framework: that of functionalism. Ever since the Permanent Court of International Justice, in the case involving the European Danube Commission, connected the powers of international organizations to their functions, the discipline has been wearing the same, functionalist spectacles. Yet, this perspective seems no longer fully appropriate: often enough these days, complaints are raised about organizations overstepping their mandates, or engaging in quasi-sovereign activities, or violating rules of international law, including human rights law. And surely, where human rights violations take place, these are difficult to justify by suggesting that, after all, the functioning of the organization warrants that such violations be deemed acceptable. In short, the functionalist perspective has lost some of its glamour, and is slowly coming to be replaced, or at least complemented, by a different perspective which, for convenience’s sake, we will refer to as the constitutionalist perspective. The focus has changed, in other words, towards controlling international bureaucracies, instead of giving them carte blanche to do as they see fit. The aim of this book is to explore how this paradigm shift is affecting the various doctrinal issues that together make up the law of international organizations. How, e.g., does constitutionalism become visible in the law on privileges and immunities? Or is this still dominated by functionalist concerns? How...