Law and Legitimacy

The World Trade Organization

Authored by: Amrita Narlikar

Routledge Handbook of International Law

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415418768
eBook ISBN: 9780203884621
Adobe ISBN: 9781134113095


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In this chapter, I investigate the puzzle why increasing legalization of the multilateral trading regime has not been accompanied by increasing legitimacy. I argue that increasing legalization can in fact trigger a process of de-legitimization if a legal system upholds rules that are perceived to be poorly negotiated. The paper presents a discussion of the concepts of legitimacy and legalization, analyzes the mechanisms whereby the processes of de-legitimization have occurred, and finally suggests ways whereby the legitimacy of the World Trade Organization might be reclaimed.

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