Research Handbook on Soft Law


Research Handbook on Soft Law

9781839101922 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Mariolina Eliantonio, Professor of European and Comparative Administrative Law and Procedure, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, Emilia Korkea-aho, Professor of European Law and Legislative Studies, University of Eastern Finland, Finland and Ulrika Mörth, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 83910 192 2 Extent: 470 pp
This pioneering Research Handbook provides an in-depth scholarly overview of the field of soft law, exploring the scope of current thinking in the field as well as proposing future pathways for soft law research. Through theoretical and empirical analyses by established voices in the field, the Research Handbook offers important insights and much-needed clarity into the dynamic and complex nature of soft law.

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This pioneering Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and in-depth scholarly overview of the field of soft law, exploring the scope of current thinking in the field as well as proposing future pathways for soft law research.

Organized into four broad themes, the Research Handbook offers important and unique insights into the dynamic and complex nature of soft law. The first section delves into the conceptual history and development of soft law. Second, the Handbook explores the disciplinary understandings of soft law, examining how scholars from different fields investigate the topic. The third theme focuses on the public and private actors and institutions involved in soft law-making, providing a detailed analysis of the complex relationships that shape soft law. Finally, the fourth theme explores the role of soft law in addressing major global societal challenges, including among others climate change, gender inequality, and the regulation of artificial intelligence.

This Research Handbook will be a key resource for students and scholars in constitutional and administrative law, public international law, regulation and governance, public administration and policy, and law and politics. Practitioners and policymakers seeking to better understand the role of soft law in domestic and international law, policy and governance will also find this book beneficial.
Critical Acclaim
‘This is a terrific collection on a subject of perennial interest, particularly (although not only) for international and European law scholars and practitioners. The editors have assembled a stellar line-up of contributors to address many of the persistent issues which the use and proliferation of soft law raise, including the reasons for its emergence as well as its impact, authority, limitations and future challenges.’
– Gráinne de Búrca, New York University, US

‘Soft law is at once a welcome addition to the instruments for governing and a challenge to traditional ideas of law and governance. This Research Handbook provides a thorough and thoughtful examination of the nature of soft law and its contributions to governing at the national and transnational levels. It is essential reading for scholars of law, political science, economics and governance.’
– B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh, US

‘While soft law is increasingly central, its fuzziness – sitting between law and politics; the local and the global; the public and the private – makes it difficult to grasp for academics and practitioners alike. Into this darkness, this Research Handbook shines bright light, examining both soft law’s history and its development across policy fields. For its intellectual depth and empirical rigour, it deserves to be widely read.’
– Mark Dawson, Hertie School, Germany

‘This Elgar Research Handbook on Soft Law provides critically important, grounded case studies of soft law in action across key policy fields, combined with conceptual and normative analyses for governance going forward, with significant implications for the major challenges that our societies face, from climate change, AI, and financial crises, to social inclusion and the rule of law.’
– Gregory Shaffer, Georgetown University Law Center, US
Contributors: Anne Ausfelde, Birte Böök, Bruno de Witte, Adam Eick, Mariolina Eliantonio, Blake Emerson, Michael Faure, Mikkel Flyverbom, Joelle Grogan, Kristina Tamm Hallström, Miriam Hartlapp, Boris Holzer, Timothy Jacob-Owens, Jacint Jordana, Nils Jansen, Jan Klabbers, Emilia Korkea-aho, Kati Kulovesi, Hans-W. Micklitz, Ulrika Mörth, Joan Solanes Mullor, Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin, Niels Philipsen, Claudio M. Radaelli, Sofia Ranchordás, María Eugenia Recio, Frederik Schade, Linda Senden, Jo Shaw, Francis Snyder, Oana Stefan, Sabina Stiller, Gaia Taffoni, Rafael Tamayo-Álvarez, Fabien Terpan, Alexander H. Türk, Rene Urueña, Clara van Dam, Minna van Gerven, Steven Vaughan, Astrid Voorwinden, Filippo M. Zerilli

Introduction to Research Handbook on Soft Law 1

1 Bamboo, or governance through soft law: hybridity, legitimacy, and
sustainability 9
Francis Snyder
2 Soft Law: an historical introduction 30
Nils Jansen
3 The definition of soft law 42
Fabien Terpan
4 An economic analysis of soft law as a regulatory tool 55
Michael Faure and Niels Philipsen
5 Anthropology and soft law 70
Filippo M. Zerilli
6 Democracy and soft law 86
Ulrika Mörth

7 Soft law in European public law 100
Bruno De Witte
8 Better regulation as soft law 115
Claudio M. Radaelli and Gaia Taffoni
9 Rules and responsibilities: Business and social norms in transnational
governance 131
Boris Holzer
10 Soft law, technical standards and European private law 144
Hans-W. Micklitz
11 Soft authority in global governance 161
Jan Klabbers
12 International standards and the dilution of responsibility 176
Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin and Kristina Tamm Hallström

13 Soft law and courts: saviours or saboteurs of the rule of (soft) law? 190
Mariolina Eliantonio and Emilia Korkea-aho
14 EU economic governance, agencies and soft law: an accountability
challenge for the courts? 207
Jacint Jordana and Joan Solanes Mullor
15 Fictions and fuzziness: Soft law rule-making among the EU’s
decentralized agencies 223
Steven Vaughan
16 Administrative guidance in the United States 237
Blake Emerson
17 Soft law making at the European Commission: Not much of
a one-institution show 252
Oana Stefan
18 Beyond norm entrepreneurs: Civil society and the framing of the ‘legal’
through soft law 271
Rene Urueña and Rafael Tamayo-Álvarez
19 The Open Method of Coordination (OMC): A hybrid tool of political
leverage in the making 287
Minna van Gerven and Sabina Stiller
20 Studying the EU soft law cycle: the role of domestic factors 303
Anne Ausfelder, Adam Eick and Miriam Hartlapp

21 Fighting a hard battle with a soft weapon: Is international climate
change law softening? 320
Kati Kulovesi and María Eugenia Recio
22 Soft law in city regulation and governance 337
Astrid Voorwinden and Sofia Ranchordás
23 Soft law and citizenship regimes 353
Timothy Jacob-Owens and Jo Shaw
24 Soft law: Booster or brake for the promotion of gender equality in the EU? 368
Birte Böök and Linda Senden
25 Soft law and the rule of law crisis 391
Joelle Grogan and Clara van Dam
26 The role of soft law in the context of the financial crisis 407
Alexander H. Türk
27 Soft law governance in the field of AI: A European perspective 423
Frederik Schade and Mikkel Flyverbom

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