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SUDS law: Non-State actors and the haphazard route to implementation of international obligations

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image of Non-State Actors and International Law
For more content, see International Community Law Review.

This article focuses on the role of non-State actors at the nexus of international and national law. It illustrates the pivotal role non-State actors can play in the implementation of international obligations and highlights the fact that the traditional dichotomy of national and international law can not fully portray the reality of implementation. It also illustrates the effects of path dependency on implementation. That is the effect whereby once the implementation process has begun, information entering the process automatically shapes the outcome by increasing the costs associated with considering alternative, and as yet undisclosed, information. Thus the option considered first in the implementation process is likely to be the one adopted merely because it entered the arena first.

The article uses a Realist lens to examine a case study of the activities of particular non-State actors as the framework for the analysis of the relationship between the two systems of law. It is based on an empirical study that focused on the actions of a particular group of non-State actors – the Sustainable Urban Drainage Scottish Working Party and its members – and their activities in relation to the development of measures to control diffuse pollution.


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