Chair in International Law and Global Governance

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Professor Andrew Lang joined the Edinburgh School of Law in 2017 as the Chair in International Law and Global Governance. Prior to that, he was Professor of Law at the London School of Economics. He is an expert in Public International Law, with a specialty in International Economic Law. He has a combined BA/LLB from the University of Sydney, where he was a double University Medallist, and his PhD is from the University of Cambridge. From 2004-6, Professor Lang was a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, before teaching at the London School of Economics from 2006 until 2017. 

He is a co-founder, with Colin Picker, of the Society of International Economic Law. He sits on the Editorial Committee of the Modern Law Review, the Editorial Boards of the London Review of International Law, the Journal of International Economic Law, and the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, and has been a Book Review Editor for the International and Comparative Law Quarterly. In 2012-13, he was awarded a British Academy mid-Career Fellowship.

Professor Lang has taught on Harvard's Institute for Global Law and Policy, the University Melbourne LLM program, the World Trade Institute's Masters of International Law and Economics (MILE) program, the University of Barcelona's IELPO course, as well as the IIEM Academy of International Trade Law in Macau. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Visiting Faculty at the University of Michigan, and an International Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Professor Lang has consulted for the European Parliament, writing two reports on the treatment of financial services in EU free trade agreements, and in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). He has also worked as part of a team conducting a Sustainability Impact Assessment for two prospective FTAs between the EU and partner countries. His current research thematically focussed on a number of themes around global economic governance, including the relationship between law and expert knowledge, theoretical international law and economics, and sociological approaches to the study of international economic law. He is co-authoring a commentary on the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, and has ongoing projects relating to the treatment of subsidies in WTO law, the WTO implications of Brexit, and the SPS agreement.

Books and Reports

Andrew Lang, Niamh Moloney, Eilis Ferran, Catherine Barnard, Kern Alexander, Brexit and Financial Services, (Hart Publishing, 2017)

Andrew Lang, Moshe Hirsch, Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law, (Edward Elgar, 2017)

Andrew Lang, Leonie Amarasekara, Financial Services Liberalisation and TiSA, (European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, 2016)

Andrew Lang, Financial Services in EU Trade Agreements, (European Parliament DG for Internal Policies, 2014)


Andrew Lang, 'The judicial sensibility of the WTO appellate body ', (2016), European Journal of International Law, Vol 27, pp 1095-1105
Abstract: When the World Trade Organization’s new dispute settlement machinery was created in 1995, no one knew for certain what its consequences would be. Innovative and experimental in crucial respects, it represented an extraordinary gambit by the Uruguay Round negotiators, who agreed to its creation partly out of frustration with the perceived deficits of the General Agreement of Tariff and Trade’s enforcement machinery, partly out of fear of unilateralism and partly in the context of a particular moment of post-Cold War faith in the international rule of law. Although a mythology very quickly emerged around this new dispute settlement machinery, according to which it represented a step-change from power-oriented to rule-oriented trade diplomacy, this was in truth always more of an aspirational expression rather than a statement of fact. In the mid-1990s, the new system had many possible futures, and its historical meaning was yet to be made. No one was more conscious of this than the seven original members of the Appellate Body, who understood well the stakes of their endeavour and felt very keenly the scrutiny of the international community as it watched how this institutional experiment would unfold.

Andrew Lang, 'New legal realism, empiricism, and scientism: The relative objectivity of Law and Social Science', (2015), Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol 28, pp 231-254
Abstract: In this article, I suggest that one of the central characteristics of New Legal Realism is the productive tension between empiricist and pragmatist theories of knowledge which lies at its core. On one side, new realist work in its empiricist posture seeks to use empirical knowledge of the world as the basis on which to design, interpret, apply, and criticize the law. On the other, in its pragmatist moments, it explicitly draws attention to the social and political contingency of any claims to empirical knowledge of the world, including its own. As a consequence, it is distinctive of much scholarship in the New Legal Realist vein that it continually enacts creative syntheses of different philosophies of truth in an attempt to be, in Shaffer's words, ‘positivist . . . interpretivist, and legal realist all at once’. The first part of this article draws on existing historical accounts of legal realism briefly to trace the problematic and ambiguous place of scientism in the legal realist tradition. Then, in the second and more important part of the article, I argue that the ambivalence of the legal realists’ vision has left us, in certain contexts, with a complicated form of mixed legal-scientific governance which has proved remarkably and surprisingly resilient in the face of late twentieth century critiques of scientific objectivity. This may be one of the most enduring legacies of the ‘old’ legal realists for those today who work in the New Legal Realist vein.

Andrew Lang, 'Twenty years of the WTO Appellate Body’s “fragmentation jurisprudence” ', (2015), Journal of International Trade Law and Policy, Vol 14, pp 116-125
Abstract: Purpose– This paper aims to reflect on the first 20 years of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body’s jurisprudence, specifically as it relates to questions of normative fragmentation. It provides an overview of some of the highlights of the WTO’s jurisprudence as it pertains to fragmentation, with particular focus on the use of general public international law in the context of the WTO dispute settlement.Design/methodology/approach– The paper adopts a traditional interpretive legal method, applied to the case law of the WTO.Findings– The paper suggests that the Appellate Body’s approach has not been driven by the institutional myopia and normative closure of which they are sometimes accused, but rather a judicial sensibility which (rightly or wrongly) valorises the virtues of modesty, caution and self-restraint.Originality/value– The paper contributes to the literature on the causes of fragmentation, drawing attention in particular to the importance of international lawyers and tribunals in contributing to fragmentation, not just responding to it. The fragmentation of international law is, in part, the product of ongoing boundary work, and the “fragmentation jurisprudence” of the Appellate Body has predictably involved boundary work of a particularly intense kind.

Andrew Lang, 'Governing ‘as if’:: Global subsidies regulation and the benchmark problem', (2014), Current Legal Problems, Vol 67, pp 135-168
Abstract: As a result of the extraordinary work of Foucault, Shapin and Schaffer, Porter, and many others, we are familiar with many of the practices of governance which emerged during the 19th century at the intersection of the modern social sciences and the modern state, as ‘naturalized’ knowledge of an objectified social body formed the foundation of specific kinds of social and political order. But over the course of the 20th century, critiques of objectivity have become commonplace, and a post-positivist epistemological revolution has taken root in many quarters. How, then, have practices of governance-through-knowledge modified themselves in response to a century of such critiques? This article takes inspiration from the work of Jasanoff, Riles, Latour and others to identify a mode of ‘governing as if’: a pragmatic mode of governance which works not through the production of objective knowledge as the shared epistemic foundation for political settlements, but rather by generating knowledge claims that stabilize social orderings precisely through their self-conscious partiality, contingency, and context-dependence. This argument is developed using the illustration of global subsidies regulation in World Trade Organization law, focussing in particular on the knowledge practices by which particular conceptions of ‘the market’ are produced and deployed in the course of its operation. The article argues that the standard criticisms of naturalized economic conceptions of the ‘free market’, developed in various scholarly traditions throughout the 20th century, do not provide an adequate account of economic governance working in ‘as if’ mode, either positively or normatively. It further argues, following Riles, that such regimes of governance derive their effectiveness fundamentally from their ‘hollow core’, and that it is in the constant and active work of ‘hollowing out’ that we are likely to find their characteristic modalities of power and underlying structural dynamics.

Akbar Rasulov, Andrew TF Lang, Robert Knox, Paavo Kotiaho, Grietje Baars, 'World Trade Law after neo-liberalism ', (2014), Social and Legal Studies, Vol 23, pp 403-456


Andrew Lang, 'Market anti-naturalisms ' in Justin Desautels-Stein, Tomlins Christopher (ed.) Searching for Contemporary Legal Thought (Cambridge University Press 2017) 312-329

Andrew Lang, 'The Rule of Law ' in Encyclopedia of International Economic Law ( 2017)

Andrew Lang, 'The double movement of law and expertise ' in Eric Hannah, James Scott, Silke Trommer (ed.) Expert Knowledge in Global Trade (Routledge 2015)

Working Papers

Andrew Lang, 'Performativity, expertise and international law ' 2017
Abstract: Working Paper presented at the Graduate Institute of International Studies

Andrew Lang, 'Governing “as if”: Global subsidies regulation and the benchmark problem' 2014

Andrew Lang, 'The consequences of Brexit: Some complications frominternational law' 2014

Andrew Lang, 'Trade Agreements, Business and Human Rights: The case of export processing zones' 2010