Chapter in The Frontiers of Public Law (Varuhas & Stark eds. 2020)

Frontiers of Global Administrative Law in the 2020s

Benedict Kingsbury

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Global administrative law (GAL) has many pertinent antecedents, but the framing and labelling of what is now regarded as GAL began with academic initiatives in the early 2000s. In 2005 it was proposed that there was emerging a body of GAL, defined as comprising: ‘the mechanisms, principles, practices, and supporting social understandings that promote or otherwise affect the accountability of global administrative bodies, in particular by ensuring they meet adequate standards of transparency, participation, reasoned decision, and legality, and by providing effective review of the rules and decisions they make’.

The initial approach was explicitly a normative intervention: although mindful of pathologies in GAL, it asserted the broad desirability of seeking to render the rule-making and decision-making of these global regulatory bodies accountable and responsive to the diverse publics significantly affected by their decisions. The aim of this working paper—written for a general readership more than as a specialist contribution to the scholarly debates on GAL—is to consider how GAL now stands in relation to some of the major conceptual and contextual issues that might be thought likely to affect the nature and even the viability of this 2000s project in the 2020s.