International and Transnational
Tendencies in Law

Centre profile

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:

Access to Justice

Access to Justice comprises a varied series of circumstances and fundamental issues which are of importance not only to lawyers and judges but also to society in general and to all citizens – individuals as well as groups, organisations, companies etc.

Great attention has been paid to the subject Access to Justice in recent years. The international literature in the field focuses primarily on access to  courts, legal aid, alternative dispute resolution and vulnerable groups. But at the same time there is a call for a more multidisciplinary approach. 

New forms of bridge-building between researchers and policy-makers and a more inclusive scope of empirical research are needed. Not least when it comes to operationalisation of Access to Justice in an international and transnational contexts, e.g. according to the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6 and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights  Article 47, nation states are obliged to secure Access to Justice and legal aid to a certain extent.

INTRAlaw’s Access to Justice group has thus a very broad understanding of Access to Justice and hopes to contribute to the development of the core concepts: Access and Justice.

The starting point is that the citizens should have a way of getting knowledge of their legal position and their rights and also a way of securing these rights – if necessary through the courts, tribunals or other fora for dispute resolution.

INTRAlaw’s Access to Justice group is actively participating in a broad European network. See this link: Access to Justice Network


The globalised business community


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.

Purpose and methodology

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.


Transnational human rights obligations


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.’


Environmental law and sustainability


The environmental media are not limited by national boundaries; and environmental problems are thus inherently transnational. This poses a challenge to legal development, where coordination and cooperation not only among states but also non-state actors are necessary to ensure effective protection of the environment. Ecological balance is considered a necessary prerequisite for sustaining human life on the Earth, and its social and economic spheres; it is the building block for global sustainability. While states cannot be or are not willing to be the principal protectors of the environment, legal solutions need to be innovative and involve all parts of the society in the creation of a multi-level governance system.


The focus of INTRAlaw within this pillar 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.) and public-private partnerships. The group is especially interested into new forms of regulation and governance in such areas as the regulation of the environmental impact in international supply chains, governance off offshore extraction in the Arctic, the governance of agricultural production of food, and the transnational effects of unsustainable production patterns. The group will also look into eGovernment initiatives, liability issues, and administrative appeal systems influencing the perceived performance of environmental decision-making of importance for the protection of the ecosystems. While these areas seem far apart, there are common denominators to all. These include the focus on environmental sustainability, resilience, and eco-systems-based protection.



Coming events

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Past events

Fri 09 Dec
09:00-17:00 | The Department of Law, Aarhus University
New trends in transnational law - day 2
The research center INTRAlaw (INternational and TRAnsnational tendencies of LAW) is happy to invite you to this workshop about new trends in the development of the law with a special focus on the Nordic perspective. Deadline for registration is 4 November. We look forward to seeing you.
Thu 08 Dec
09:00-17:00 | The Department of Law, Aarhus University
New trends in transnational law - day 1
The research center INTRAlaw (INternational and TRAnsnational tendencies of LAW) is happy to invite you to this workshop about new trends in the development of the law with a special focus on the Nordic perspective. Deadline for registration is 4 November. We look forward to seeing you.
Thu 06 Oct
09:00-16:00 | Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen
To pursue or not to pursue CSR Goals - legal risks and liabilities
The conference: To pursue or not to pursue CSR goals? is organized by the Centre for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, INTRAlaw, Department of Law, Aarhus University, the CSR LRN and the SMART project, University of Oslo. Researchers from these research groups and other invited expert participants will convene for a two-day conference at the University of Copenhagen in October.

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