INTRAlaw encompasses a range of cross-disciplinary research projects led by researchers from the Department of Law. Our research takes as its point of departure the fact that sovereign states are no longer in charge of establishing, implementing and enforcing legal norms. To an increasing extent, legal norms are established as a result of activities in international and supranational organisations, transnational corporations and through collaborations between public-law and private-law agencies on a national, regional and international level.
At INTRAlaw we seek to shed light on the practice of legal regulation in various jurisdictions and investigate whether there is a tendency towards establishing standards of globalisation – and if so, what do these standards entail. Read more about the four research projects:
Traditionally, the laws of the Scandinavian countries are perceived to be quite similar and characterised by uniform ways of thinking, and therefore they have come to form their own ‘legal family’ or ‘legal culture.’
As opposed to other legal families, which accommodate a range of national legal systems, the Scandinavian legal family seems rather straightforward and manageable due to its relatively small geographical-political scope. This makes Scandinavian legislation particularly suitable for empirical studies of how international and transnational law affects and shapes or is affected and (re)shaped by national and regional legal systems and various judiciaries.
The purpose of this sub-project, which deals with Scandinavian law in a globalised world, is to examine how different expressions of international and transnational law in different ways are developed, incorporated in and affect the national legal systems in Scandinavia. These legal systems are very similar in terms of their legislative approaches and the system designs on which they are based, and the overall legislative goals in all the Scandinavian countries are welfare and the redistribution of wealth.
The empirical material of this sub-project is countered by the theoretical aspects. The applied theory proceeds from the notion that the existing theoretical material about the relationship and the mutual influence between national and international legal systems is too simple. The theories do not attempt to explain how and why the development across the legal systems happens in different paces, despite the fact that the legal systems are relatively similar.
Therefore, part of the aim of the sub-project is to develop a new theoretical framework, which will enable us to better understand the dynamics that govern the relations between internationalisation, transnationalisation and local nationalisation.
Earlier, business law regulation largely meant that it was up to the involved parties to lay down the ground rules for their mutual collaborations within a framework that each nation state found to be appropriate.
But given the significant increase in international inter-state trade, there is now a rising need for more uniform and transnational regulation of the rules that apply to inter-state trade, which means that the contract partners must use as few resources as possible on dealing with the legal foundation for supplying services to contract partners in other countries.
This form of regulation cannot be carried out by the nation states alone; rather, it calls for international collaborations. There have been attempts to meet the business community’s appeals for regulatory harmonisation; among other things through enactment and implementation of various conventions at the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods (CISG); but also by way of establishing so-called general principles, which capture the overall ground rules within the scope of international contract law.
The researchers behind this sub-project seek to clarify whether, how and the extent to which transnationally acknowledged principles have influenced Danish legislation, legal practice, legal literature and have had an effect on Danish companies’ actual application of the principles in their contracts with Danish and international partners.
In extension of this, the project aims to provide an analysis of the legal effect of internationalisation in relation to current legal theory as well as legal methodology, including contract interpretation in particular.
Along with the increase in governmental activities outside state territory, new complex questions arise regarding the significance of human rights rules that apply to this form of authority behaviour.
Complexity increases as extraterritorial public sector consultancy tasks, formally or in practice, are delegated to other states, to international organisations or to non-governmental players.
To what extent can the states’ human rights obligations be applied in a transnational context? How can these rules be enforced outside state territory in view of the challenges, both legal and actual, related to the traditional control mechanisms? On what grounds can and should government obligations be extended to private players in a transnational context?
Legal uncertainty regarding questions such as the above is gaining topical interest in connection with the execution of extraterritorial authority during armed conflicts and on issues related to counter-terrorism and piracy as well as migration control. The aim of INTRAlaw’s research is to seek the foundations for and the correlations between the answers to these questions.
At the same time, the questions raise the more overall issue about how such extraterritorial activities counter the traditional legal notion that states exercise jurisdiction in their own territories and only there. Do the tendencies towards transnationalisation challenge the very foundation of the sovereign states’ international obligations?
If we focus on the major players that affect the content and constitution of the law, we face a particular problem, which forces us to question whether a state can be held responsible for the actions and omissions of private companies in the context of extraterritorial activities. This is closely related to the question about non-government players’ own responsibilities in terms of international human rights standards, and about the dissemination of new forms of regulation that fall under the category of ‘corporate social responsibility.’
The Arctic is deemed to be an excellent laboratory for illustrating the general impact of globalisation on the legislative design and governance. The rise of new business opportunities as well as an increasing focus on the rights and traditions of the indigenous population and the need to protect the vulnerable environment is a focal point in the INTRALaw research.
Read the press release: Greenland and the Arctic are caught in a legal minefield
Focus is on the different levels of regulation and transnational regulation as well as other kind of governance, which has a strong impact on the public sector (rule formulation, etc.), the private sector (contract formulation, etc.), public-private partnerships and tribe-state partnerships. The group will especially examine new forms of regulation and governance of hydrocarbon extraction, energy security issues, shipping, and trade.