The international rule of law and the domestic analogy

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A surge in academic interest in the interaction of international law with international politics has recently raised the profile of the rule of law in global politics. The idea of an ‘international rule of law’ is central to many accounts of international order, and to both political science and legal scholarship. Despite its popularity, the concept is rarely defined or examined. This article considers the theory and practice of the international rule of law. It shows first that the international rule of law cannot be deduced from the conventional Anglo-American version of the rule of law in domestic legal theory, as sketched by Joseph Raz and others. It then considers two competing versions of a distinctly international concept of the rule of law, one based on a positivist theory of compliance and the other on a structurationist theory of practice. The former is more common in legal and political scholarship but the latter accounts better for the political power of international law in relation to states.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-395
Number of pages31
JournalGlobal Constitutionalism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


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