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International Organizations in Search of their Souls

international business


Quad Teaching Room
Old College


Wed 22 November 2023

About this event

Jan Klabbers is Academy Professor at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Law. He is a leading global authority on the law of international organizations.

International organizations were always legitimated, however clumsily, by the idea that they existed to exercise delegated powers. Yet, even a cursory glance at the practices of international organizations reveals that the link between the organization and its powers has become very tenuous, with organizations engaging in many types of activity without having been delegated any competence. Think only of the exercise of authority beyond the strictly law-making (rare to begin with), or think of the enormous amount of cooperation taking place between international organizations. This creates a legitimation deficit which, it would seem, calls for a new, different legitimation strategy. If the endowment with delegated competences no longer reflects reality 'on the ground' and thus can no longer plausibly anchor international organizations, how then can international organizations find legitimation?


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