Informal International Law-Making


Informal International Law-Making Project
With globalisation, the world has witnessed an increase in international cooperation. But it is not only states, as unitary actors, who cooperate more. Sub-units of the state, such as regulators, agencies, courts and parliaments are also increasingly cooperating with their counterparts across national borders. The work of these “transgovernmental networks” typically focuses on exchanging information, cooperating on enforcing national laws, harmonising national laws, or issuing standards.
As yet, traditional international law does not recognise these kinds of transgovernmental networks. Most of them are unlikely to qualify as intergovernmental organisations (which are constituted on the basis of treaties among unitary states), nor would many of them have international legal personality. For these and other reasons, they are considered an “informal” mode of cooperation. This gives rise to accountability problems, since as a consequence of their informality, the activities of transgovernmental networks are arguably not regulated by international law.
Moreover, it is questionable to what extent these networks are regulated by domestic law. The concern is that regulators, in their transgovernmental activities, are in practice free from constitutional controls. Transgovernmental networks are typically considered to fall between the cracks of international law and domestic law, leading to potentially serious accountability problems.
The Informal International Law-Making (IILM) Project addresses the question “How can forms of informal international law-making be made more democratic and accountable?”.