Multilateralism has served as a foundation for international cooperation over the past several decades. Championed after the Second World War by the United States and Western Europe, it expanded into a broader global system of governance with the end of the Cold War. Lately, an increasing number of States appear to be disappointed with the existing multilateral arrangements, both at the level of norms and that of institutions. The great powers see unilateral and bilateral strategies, which maximize their political leverage rather than diluting it in multilateral fora, as more effective ways for controlling the course of international affairs.
The signs of the crisis have been visible for some time – but recent crises indicate an acceleration of the on-going disintegration of the multilateral system, such as Brexit, growing resistance on the part of States to international monitoring of compliance and the radical change in the US foreign policy during the presidency of Donald Trump which saw the US withdraw from several multilateral agreements (e.g. the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Agreement), leave some international organizations or bodies (e.g. the United Nations Human Rights Council or the World Health Organization) or paralyze some others (e.g. the World Trade Organization (WTO)).
Tackling the debate surrounding the crisis of multilateralism and the related transformation of the underlying international legal order, The Crisis of Multilateral Legal Order analyzes selected aspects of the current crisis from the perspective of public international law to identify the nature of the crisis, its dynamics, and implications.
Introduction: Mapping the crisis of multilateralism
Chapter 2: Oleksandr Vodiannikov, The crisis of trust in contemporary multilateralism: International order in times of perplexity
Chapter 3: Sean Butler, Believing is seeing: Normative consensus and the crisis of institutional multilateralism
Chapter 4: Maria Varaki, Revisiting the ‘crisis’ of international law
Chapter 5: Mary E. Footer, The multilateral international order – Reports of its death are greatly exaggerated
Chapter 6: Christopher Lentz, State withdrawals of jurisdiction from an international adjudicative body
Chapter 7: Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Multilateralism, community of interests and environmental law
Chapter 8: Vassilis Pergantis, The advent and fall of trust as a cornerstone of judicial cooperation in multilateral regimes in Europe: A cautionary tale
Chapter 9: Agnieszka Nimark, The nuclear non-proliferation regime at 50: Midlife crisis and its consequences
Chapter 10: Patrycja Grzebyk, Karolina Wierczyńska, The crisis of multilateralism through the prism of the experience of the International Criminal Court
Chapter 11: Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, Global governance crises and rule of law: Lessons from Europe’s multilevel constitutionalism
Chapter 12: Jessica C. Lawrence, We have never been ‘multilateral’: Consensus discourse in international trade law
Chapter 13: Ewa Żelazna, The EU’s reform of the investor-State dispute resolution system: A bilateral path towards a multilateral solution
Chapter 14: Margherita Melillo, Challenges to multilateralism at the World Health Organization
Chapter 15: Szymon Zaręba, The Council of Europe and Russia: Emerging from a crisis or heading towards a new one?