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Legal Order and the ‘Globality’ of Global Law

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The aim of this paper is to develop a concept of legal order that is capable of accommodating several distinctive features of global law, as well as features which are traditionally associated to state law. To this effect, it sketches out the bold lines of a general concept of legal order, which draws on contemporary philosophical accounts of collective action. A legal order, it is argued, is an authoritatively mediated and upheld form of joint action. This general model of legal order explains (i) why global legal orders typically overlap or overlay each other; (ii) why these orders are organized as networks of places; and (iii) why they necessarily are organized as a spatial inside in contrast to an outside. That the inside/outside contrast remains constitutive for global legal orders suggests that globalization marks the emergence of new fault lines between legal orders, not the suppression of spatial boundaries.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, Legal Philosophy, Tilburg University; Research Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (South Africa), Email:, URL:


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