Book Review: Transnational Legality: Stateless Law and International Arbitration

AuthorPaul Robert Gilbert
Published date01 October 2016
Date01 October 2016
Subject MatterBook Reviews
SLS660920 630..642 Book Reviews
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THOMAS SCHULTZ, Transnational Legality: Stateless Law and International Arbitration. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 205, ISBN 9780199641956, £63.00 (hbk).
Are international arbitrators justified in referring to their work as a matter of creating
private law? Is it prudent for legal scholars in search of new objects of study to name
arbitration as a transnational legal – rather than normative – regime? What is at stake
when we call something law, and how can we do so with confidence? In Transnational
Legality, Thomas Schultz takes issue with the view, articulated by the ‘French school’ of
arbitration, that international arbitration constitutes its own transnational, stateless legal
order. The majority of the text is, however, not concerned so much with arbitration as
with the question of how to grasp law as a distinctive field of study.
Schultz starts with the observation that ‘we have to be careful about what we call law,
because calling something law accords it a certain legitimacy which demands respect’ (p.
23). In other words, ‘pronouncements of legality can be used to take advantage of the
signals they send’ – namely, that a thing called law is ‘good and valuable and must be
respected’ (p. 36). Hence, ‘our analytic stance on the concept of law should be adapted to

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