Understanding complex legality in international governance – reflections on ‘juris diction’

Abstract flame painting image by ellenm1 on Flickr under the CC BY-NC 2.0 license

Event details


Date & time

Monday 20 June 2016


RegNet Meeting Room, Level 3, Coombs Extension, Building #8
ANU Canberra


Siobhán Airey


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Both international legal and international relations scholars have wrestled with how to effectively address changes in the relationship between law and international governance arising from two significant developments in the nature of international governance in recent decades.

First, there is a decline in the use of international law to address transboundary governance issues and to constrain the wielding of power of international actors. This is matched with a concurrent rise in ‘soft law’ instruments of governance. Secondly, there is an increasing resort to non-consensual forms of international governance.

These developments raise questions on:

  1. the nature of authority where the boundaries between public and private authority are increasingly blurred;

  2. the legal subjectivity of states, natural persons and other actors affecting concepts of rights, responsibility and obligations;

  3. modes of transnational governance that challenge historically held ideas about sovereignty, boundary and scalar jurisdiction, and

  4. the role of/for law therein.

This paper suggests that an analytical framework drawing from the concept of jurisdiction is one way to explore these aspects, in-depth and in tandem. By applying this lens of jurisdiction to the international governance of Official Development Assistance, important facets of its governance overlooked by recent legal and international relations scholarship are revealed.

About the Speaker

Siobhán Airey is currently completing her doctorate in law at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Professor Penelope Simons and was a Visiting PhD Scholar at the Centre for International Governance and Justice. Siobhán’s doctoral research analyses Official Development Assistance (ODA or official aid) as an instrument of global governance. For more information view her RegNet profile.

Abstract flame painting image by ellenm1 on Flickr under the CC BY-NC 2.0 license

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