Law and Sustainable Development

This research line looks at the intersection between law and the political economy of development.

It is primarily concerned with the role of law in creating, sustaining or mitigating some of the adverse effects of economic globalisation. The main research question is to what extent law can offer effective protection in terms of social and ecological justice in the context of a globalising economy. 

Non-State actors

From a public international law perspective, only States can be held fully responsible when they fail to comply with international obligations. When other entities engage in activities that have an adverse impact on sustainable development (such as intergovernmental organizations and private actors), international law still offers few avenues. The development of forms of responsibility and accountability for such actors is a main priority under this research agenda. 

International economic governance

International economic exchanges between private actors, States, and private actors and States are regulated trough a host of laws and more informal norms, including private international law, BITs, the law of the WTO and various private regulatory initiatives. These norms may promote but also hinder development and environmental protection. Under this research agenda, the following aspects are particularly relevant: Is there a need to constitutionalise international economic governance? To what extent are these various norms law and is their legitimacy and justice relevant to attaining this status? Can the interference of international economic law in the internal sovereignty of states be justified on the basis of social and ecological justice?