Multilateralism has served as a foundation for international cooperation over the past several decades. Championed after the Second World War by the United States and Western Europe, it expanded into a broader global system of governance with the end of the Cold War. Lately, an increasing number of States appear to be disappointed with the existing multilateral arrangements, both at the level of norms and that of institutions. The great powers see unilateral and bilateral strategies, which maximize their political leverage rather than diluting it in multilateral fora, as more effective ways for controlling the course of international affairs.

The signs of the crisis have been visible for some time – but recent crises indicate an acceleration of the on-going disintegration of the multilateral system, such as Brexit, growing resistance on the part of States to international monitoring of compliance and the radical change in the US foreign policy during the presidency of Donald Trump which saw the US withdraw from several multilateral agreements (e.g. the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Agreement), leave some international organizations or bodies (e.g. the United Nations Human Rights Council or the World Health Organization) or paralyze some others (e.g. the World Trade Organization (WTO)).

Tackling the debate surrounding the crisis of multilateralism and the related transformation of the underlying international legal order, The Crisis of Multilateral Legal Order analyzes selected aspects of the current crisis from the perspective of public international law to identify the nature of the crisis, its dynamics, and implications.

chapter 1|17 pages


Mapping the crisis of multilateralism

part I|83 pages

Conceptualizing the crisis

chapter 2|23 pages

The Crisis of Trust in Contemporary Multilateralism

International Order in Times of Perplexity

chapter 3|18 pages

Believing Is Seeing

Normative Consensus and the Crisis of Institutional Multilateralism

part II|208 pages

Dynamics and implications of the crisis

chapter 9|20 pages

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime at 50

A Midlife Crisis and its Consequences

chapter 11|20 pages

Global Governance Crises and Rule of Law

Lessons from Europe's Multilevel Constitutionalism

chapter 12|19 pages

We Have Never Been ‘Multilateral’

Consensus Discourse in International Trade Law

chapter 13|19 pages

The EU's Reform of the Investor-State Dispute Resolution System

A Bilateral Path towards a Multilateral Solution

chapter 15|19 pages

The Council of Europe and Russia

Emerging from a Crisis or Heading Towards a New One?