Global lawmakers: International organisations in the crafting of world markets


Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 27 February 2018


Coombs Extension 1.04
ANU Canberra


Terence C. Halliday


School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
+61 2 6125 6033

Globalisation of law and markets has become highly controversial. Terence Halliday’s new book Global Lawmakers reveals how the United Nations makes commercial law for the world, and who comes out ahead. Terence will launch the book at this in conversation event alongside several experts in the field.

Global lawmaking by international organisations holds the potential for enormous influence over world trade and national economies. Its impact reaches to state lawmaking and commercial behavior, whether of giant multi-national corporations or micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Who makes that law and who benefits affects all states and all market players.

Global Lawmakers offers the first extensive empirical study of commercial lawmaking within the United Nations. Based principally on an ethnography of global lawmaking over several years, the book shows who makes law for the world, how they make it, and who comes out ahead. Block-Lieb and Halliday investigated intensively three episodes of lawmaking between the late 1990s and 2012: transport of goods by sea, corporate bankruptcy and restructuring, and secured transactions as a stimulus for bank lending.

The book examines the critical early steps of agenda-setting, undertakes a quantitative analysis of attendance by delegates and delegations in order to discover what actors exert most influence on UNCITRAL’s products, and demonstrates how informal processes and the manipulation of time were invented to cope with problematic formal strictures of UN deliberative constraints.

The authors present a political analysis of global scripts, demonstrating how the black-letter form of hard and soft law technologies both reflects and anticipates the politics of implementation. Through its original socio-legal orientation, it reveals struggles inside UNCITRAL and unveils the hitherto invisible dynamics of competition, cooperation and competitive cooperation among international organizations, including the UN, World Bank, IMF and UNIDROIT.

Global Lawmakers proposes an original theory of international organisations that seek to construct transnational legal orders within social ecologies of lawmaking. The book concludes with an appraisal of creative global governance by the UN in international commerce over the past fifty years and examines prospective challenges for the twenty-first century.

About the speakers

Terence Halliday is Honorary Professor, RegNet; Research Professor and Co-Director, Center on Law and Globalization, American Bar Foundation; and Adjunct Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University.

Sally Wheeler OBE is Dean, ANU College of Law, and formerly Head of the School of Law, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, and Interim Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Queens University, Belfast.

Susan K. Sell is a RegNet Professor. She earned her PhD in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She taught at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School before joining the George Washington University. There, she was a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet