Research Handbook on Global Administrative Law
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Research Handbook on Global Administrative Law

Edited by Sabino Cassese

This Handbook explores the main themes and topics of the emerging field of Global Administrative Law with contributions by leading scholars and experts from universities and organizations around the world. The variety of the subjects addressed and the internationality of the Handbook’s perspectives make for a truly global and multi-dimensional view of the field.
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Chapter 9: Government by negotiation

Jan Wouters


From time immemorial, negotiation has been at the core of international legal processes: from peace-making, treaty-making and the discussion and adoption of resolutions or decisions in international organizations, to the resolution of conflicts, such as in the context of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement procedure. In today’s global space, negotiation is omnipresent and goes far beyond its classical intergovernmental context. Especially within the realm of standard-setting, public authorities negotiate with each other at various governance levels, public authorities negotiate with private actors, and private actors negotiate among themselves. This chapter aims to grasp and map the different faces and formats of negotiation and the ways in which they contribute to the regulation of the global space. Throughout the chapter, several examples will be examined to illustrate the multifaceted modalities and realities of negotiation. Particular attention will be given to the peculiarities of negotiations involving global institutions and to the legal underpinnings of some of the vital concepts, principles and rules of negotiations. The term ‘negotiation’ hides a complex variety of processes, techniques, principles and rules that depend on the context and the object of the negotiation at hand. Without aspiring to an exhaustive enumeration, one can distinguish between negotiation as a tool for peace-making, treaty-making, decision-making in international organizations, standard-setting and dispute settlement. Throughout human history, wars and conflicts have been terminated by means of often painstaking and complex negotiation processes.

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