Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking
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Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

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.
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Chapter 14: International lawmaking and civil society

Barbara K. Woodward


This chapter defines the concepts of ‘civil society’ and ‘international lawmaking’ as used in international law scholarship. Then, it maps and analyzes international lawmaking practice where members of civil society, especially NGOs, are important stakeholders. Specifically, it investigates NGO practices contributing to the creation of international law and its enforcement. This includes examples of lawmaking settings where NGO representatives generated international legal norms by participating formally and informally in diplomatic conferences, UN processes, other international institutional processes, and adjudicatory processes in relevant areas of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international environmental law, international criminal law and State responsibility, international human security law and international economic law. Finally, it addresses theoretical issues raised by challenges to NGO representativeness and legitimacy and accountability and suggests how NGOs may counter such assaults by making a strong case for non-democratic legitimacy based on law, morality and practice backed by appropriate accountability mechanisms.

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