The international legal system has weathered sweeping changes over the last decade as new participants have emerged. International law-making and law-enforcement processes have become increasingly multi-layered with unprecedented numbers of non-State actors, including individuals, insurgents, multinational corporations and even terrorist groups, being involved. This growth in the importance of non-State actors at the law-making and law-enforcement levels has generated a lot of new scholarly studies on the topic. However, while it remains uncontested that non-State actors are now playing an important role on the international plane, albeit in very different ways, international legal scholarship has remained riddled by controversy regarding the status of these new actors in international law.

This collection features contributions by renowned scholars, each of whom focuses on a particular theory or tradition of international law, a region, an institutional regime or a particular subject-matter, and considers how that perspective impacts on our understanding of the role and status of non-State actors. The book takes a critical approach as it seeks to gauge the extent to which each conception and understanding of international law is instrumental in the perception of non-State actors. In doing so the volume provides a wide panorama of all the contemporary legal issues arising in connection with the growing role of non-state actors in international-law making and international law-enforcement processes.

chapter |21 pages


Non-state actors in international law: oscillating between concepts and dynamics

part I|60 pages

Theoretical perspectives

part II|57 pages

The regional perspectives

chapter 6|14 pages

Non-state actors in French legal scholarship

International legal personality in question

chapter 7|12 pages

Non-state actors in North American legal scholarship

Four lessons for the progressive and critical international lawyer

chapter 8|17 pages

Non-state actors in Southeast Asia

How does civil society contribute towards norm-building in a state-centric environment?

chapter 9|13 pages

Contemporary Russian perspectives on non-state actors*

Fear of the loss of state sovereignty

part III|128 pages

Institutional perspectives

chapter 15|15 pages

The International Law Association and non-state actors

Professional network, public interest group or epistemic community?

part IV|173 pages

Subject-matter based perspectives

chapter 17|16 pages

Non-state actors and human rights

Corporate responsibility and the attempts to formalize the role of corporations as participants in the international legal system

chapter 20|15 pages

Non-state actors in international institutional law

Non-state, inter-state or supra-state? The peculiar identity of the intergovernmental organization

chapter 21|16 pages

Non-state actors in international peace and security

Non-state actors and the use of force

chapter 22|18 pages

Non-state actors in international dispute settlement

Pragmatism in international law

chapter 23|12 pages

Non-state actors in international investment law

The legal personality of corporations and NGOs in the context of investor–state arbitration

chapter 24|18 pages

Non-state actors in international environmental law

A Rousseauist perspective

chapter 25|17 pages

Non-state actors in refugee law

L’état, c’est moi. Refugee law as a response to non-state action

chapter 26|18 pages

Non-state actors in European law

Enhanced participation of non-state actors in EU law-making and law-enforcement processes – a quest for legitimacy

chapter 27|15 pages


Inclusive law-making and law-enforcement processes for an exclusive international legal system