Saturday, October 1, 2016

Brölmann & Nijman: Legal Personality as a Fundamental Concept of International Law

Catherine M. Brölmann (Univ. of Amsterdam - Law) & Janne Elisabeth Nijman (Univ. of Amsterdam - Law) have posted Legal Personality as a Fundamental Concept of International Law (in Fundamental Concepts of International Law, Jean d’Aspremont & Sahib Singh eds., forthcoming). Here's the abstract:

Legal personality is generally understood as the capability to be - in traditional anthropomorphic terms - ‘the bearer of legal rights and obligations’. Legal personality is a structuring tool in legal systems, not least that of international law, as it indicates which actors or entities participate. This chapter considers international legal personality in its different roles. The concept works as an epistemic tool in theoretical reflections on the workings of international law, and it also serves as a doctrinal category within the system of international law. We take into account both roles, as well as the actual candidates for international legal personality which over time have emerged in different political contexts. As the conceptual linchpin between the social and the legal, personality is a central tool in claims of authority and autonomy among the participants in international life. It is key to a narrative of contestation, sometimes rebellion, in international law. The chapter is structured by a sequence of moments in the development of the form and use of the legal personality concept that we consider especially significant. These are: legal personality as a sign for legal existence (para 2); the structuring effect of the external aspect of legal personality (para 3); legal personality as the flipside of the reified state (para 4); contestation of the anthropomorphic conceptualization, and of the closed category of international legal persons (para 5); ‘legal personality’ changing from a constitutive to a declaratory statement (para 6); and the potential impact of post-subject and post-human lines of thought on the concept of legal personality (para 7).