Polycentric vs. fragmented: a Neo-Kelsenian order of global law

Tomasz Widłak


The article contrasts the image of the maladaptive fragmentation of international law with polycentrism as the new legal model of the unitas multiplex of international law. Whether international law is seen as fragmented or polycentric, hinges on the way it is cognised and understood by lawyers, and how its unity and normativity are justified. The vehicles of international law’s structural resilience are the intellectual (ontological, epistemological, methodological) tools at the disposal of lawyers and legal scholars. However, the dominating meta-theories in legal scholarship: sovereigntism, universalism and systems theory are short of explanations maintaining the adequate unity of the system. The article explains how a Kelsenian mindset may be used to clarify the structure of the polycentric legal order. By utilising the idea of the purity and normative unity of law, the Neo-Kelsenian narrative reconnects different rationalities of public and private governance in one system of international law qua global law.
Author Tomasz Widłak (FLA / DTPLS)
Tomasz Widłak,,
- Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law and State
Journal seriesTransnational Legal Theory, ISSN 2041-4005, e-ISSN 2041-4013, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets1.1
Keywords in PolishHans Kelsen, prawo globalne, prawo międzynarodowe, porządek prawny, system prawny, fragmentacja prawa międzynarodowego
Keywords in EnglishHans Kelsen, global law, international law, legal order, fragmentation
ASJC Classification3308 Law
Languageen angielski
Widlak_Tomasz_Polycentric_fragmented_Neo_Kelsenian_2019.pdf 1.76 MB
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 70.0, 28-01-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.992
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