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The International Public Corporation

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A Concept More Relevant than Ever?

image of International Organizations Law Review

The concept of the International Public Corporation (‘IPC’), elaborated by Wolfgang Friedmann in 1943 as a distinct sub-category of international organization, has disappeared from international law discourse. This paper argues that the IPC concept remains relevant and useful in classifying and analyzing international organizations for the following reasons. First, the prototype IPCs, the Bank for International Settlements (‘BIS’), the International Monetary Fund (‘IMF’), and World Bank remain in existence—their longevity and continuing importance reflects the viability and effectiveness of the IPC as a legal form. Second, the IPC model has continued to be propagated—many more IPCs have been established; the New Development Bank (the ‘BRICS Bank’) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (‘AIIB’) being the most recent. Third, the IPCs raise a distinct set of governance and accountability issues that have been the subject of review and reform efforts, which could benefit from a greater contribution by public international law scholarship.

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