Updated: Oct 7




'The International Economic Law Revolution' is an essay written for the Law school of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law. This essay examines the field of international economic law by bringing out different perspectives, limitations, constitutional functions and the transformation of society. The law governing international economic relations is a field of international law that regulates the behaviour of States, international organisations and firms operating in the international arena. It covers a vast array of topics from public international law to private international law, includes all economic transactions and deals with the conduct of sovereign states and private parties involved in transnational economic and business transactions. This essay is magnificently structured and well ordered. It begins with a fine introduction to the different fields of legal study under international law, followed by broad parameters of international economic law, then the fading of private international law and lastly sets out the international economic law revolution.


To begin with, the author starts his essay by examining the four associated fields of legal study that is private international law, international business law, international economic law and public international law. The author makes four arguments related to it and thoroughly explains his intention behind these points to bring in contact with the broad parameters of international economic law. He establishes his observation by stating that international economic law encompasses international business law and relevant portions of private international law to design and decide institutions that would maximise our needs. Secondly, he points out the issue of applicability of the law of both private international law and public international law. Thirdly, he asks to revaluate the term "international law." Lastly, the author simplifies the meaning of international economic law as a type of public international law that has economic goals. In such a manner, he opens his essay, "The International Economic Law Revolution" which will allow us to look at our world from a cosmopolitan perspective.

International Business Law and International Economic Law both reflect a new set of intellectual boundaries that are out in the world to be discovered. We usually refer to economics as a branch of science that includes production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in markets, but it also includes non-market forms of economic organisations. While business is a way to exploit markets which includes marketing, publicity, sales. From this, it seems that the distinction between the two is the distinction between transactions and trade which further indicates domestic-international dichotomy. The author has enumerated various dyad such as domestic: international, private: public. This has been explained through examples which depict the inseparable nature of transactions and trade. For instance, sales cannot be made without considering tariff and nontariff barriers to export transactions and their international legality.

Private international law of Conflict of laws is another branch of international law which deals with different legal issues arising from private relations between persons, companies or other legal entities across boundaries. It contains a foreign element due to which several questions related to state authority arises. It implies which state will be allocated the legal power to regulate the matter; whether it is a question of horizontal and vertical intergovernmental relations; whether the international legal rule is only binding upon the states or private parties too and so on. Thus, private international law through evolving is an issue of abidingness of the international legal rule. Moreover, the essay emphasises on the international business law which comprises of the complexities of comparative law, inter-domestic law, conflicts of law and transnational law. It needs to be considered both from private and public policy perspectives.

The functional allure of international economic law is the essence of the essay. It talks about the cosmopolitan and metropolitan viewpoints as described by David Kennedy and Hans Kelsen respectively. The scope of international economic law is most visible in the European Union and the GATT/WTO framework, though it is developing in other regional organizations. This part is then categorised into two heads of the Constitutional Function of Public International Law and International Economic Law and International Economic Integration. The former examines the Westphalian system and the latter provides for the definition of international economic law. The role of GATT that is regulating the contracting parties to achieve the purpose of the agreement which were reducing tariffs and other barriers, to achieve the liberalization in international trade is also specified. Lastly, it talks about tradeoffs between trade and other societal values and the GATT Tuna case. As illustrated in the case, the need to make tradeoffs, institutionalization and uniformity is required.

Finally, the last part of the essay covers the managing and redistributive aspects of the international economic law revolution. The redistributive concern is established upon two bases. First, it can be effected in the form of side payments to induce developing countries to realize the value of their assets. Second, through institutional politics. Therefore, international economic law regulates the economic relations and the revolution is the transformation of the society that boosts relations among states.


The international economic law is a rich field which needs to be explored more. The essay not only gives brief knowledge about international economic law but also gives value to private international law, public international law and business law. It mainly covers all basic and important concepts necessary for a reader to understand this field of legal study. The author has concluded his essay in a different way by providing synthesis which highlights the intensification of economic relations. All in all, it is a "must-read" essay.

Legit Originals, Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2020)


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