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Piercing the Legal Veil: Commercial Arbitration and Transnational Law

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The contemporary search for new forms of international governance, of which the debate around lex mercatoria is but an example, should attentively build on the lessons on public and private ordering learned in the nation state. Sophisticated commercial practices on a transnational scale, while necessitating adaptive and flexible procedures within an adequate institutional framework, involve many of the same normative questions posed by economic law in the nation state. The following article critically discusses the claims made in the lex mercatoria debate as to the rise of a transnational private law society (‘Privatrechtsgesellschaft’) in which political problems of exclusion and freedom have allegedly been resolved by the universal spread of private autonomy. Against similar images of a world exclusively made up of independent, self-relying market citizens, it is argued that if a conception of rights is to be rescued from the deathbed of the traditional nation state, then the learning experiences made within its confines are well worth considering in light of the pressing legitimacy needs of emerging institutions and polities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Postdoctoral Lecturer and Academic Assistant, University of Frankfurt, Institute of Economic Law

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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