- Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Sabino Cassese
Chapter 6: Linkages between global regimes and interactions with civil society
It is commonplace that the global legal order is a patchwork of special international regimes, which, albeit numerous, are self-contained. Mutual voluntary interactions are rare, as regimes focus on a specific subject matter and closely follow the preferences of their members. This lateral blindness, combined with an increasingly dense pluralism, unavoidably leads to regime overlap and collision, litigation and a complex work of jurisdictional delimitation. Such an account is consistent with classic international law, which rests on the idea (defended as the only democratically sound assumption) that States may very well cooperate internationally, provided that they firmly retain the crucial function of balancing competing values and interests. Due to their democratic pedigree, States are the only sites in which all relevant interests may find their way into the decision-making process, and in which decisions having a distributive impact are perceived as legitimate. A closer look at the global institutional landscape reveals the thin empirical grounds of that comforting commonplace. Global regimes and institutions liaise with each other and interact with private representative organizations on a regular basis. Almost invariably, the websites of international organizations contain a page listing their partnerships with public and private bodies, along with an illustration of the activities that are performed jointly, reports and minutes of the bilateral or plurilateral meetings, and a reference to the legal arrangements, if any.
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