2022 SAIL


Prof. Benedict Kingsbury

Professor, New York University

Professor Benedict Kingsbury, originally from New Zealand, is Vice Dean of New York University (NYU) Law School, and Director of the Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ). He served as co-editor in Chief of the American Journal of International Law, and is a convener of the Oxford University Press Law and Global Governance book series. His edited works in that series include Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Governance After TPP (2019, 700 pages), and Global Hybrid and Private Governance (forthcoming), as well as the earlier Governance by Indicators: Global Power through Quantification and Rankings. He has written on history of international law, indigenous peoples issues, inter-state and investment arbitration, the United Nations and global environmental issues. At NYU he teaches courses on advanced international law, global data law, infrastructure, rights and regulation, and law and global governance. He will deliver the Lauterpacht Lectures at Cambridge University in November 2022.

Global Governance and International Law

The ‘foreign office’ model has dominated in international law since the 19th century – each state’s government defines and pursues the state’s interests, represented solely by government ministers and diplomats. They interact with other states organized the same way, to make treaties, establish custom, etc. By the 1990s a second model – the ‘global governance’ model – had become important. It saw international organizations as important actors (not just forums), recognized that states have many component parts which influence international arrangements (e.g. central banks), took account of increasing roles of private governance (e.g. standardization bodies and global sports bodies) and state-private hybrid institutions, and embraced some core values (e.g. humanitarian and environmental) even if these were not emanating from governments. Along with this went a legal focus on accountability, transparency, participation, international courts, and uptake of international arrangements by national regulators, courts, and cities. This model coincided with a period of North Atlantic dominance and met with suspicion about whose interests were being advanced and who made the new rules. Nonetheless it persists, and is a vital part of the work of an international lawyer, in fields ranging from health, trade, climate, to space, digital development, and oceans law. These lectures explore and critique the global governance model in international law.