Beyond Labor Rights: Which Core Human Rights Must Regional Trade Agreements Protect?

By: Stephen Joseph Powell and Trisha Low


As World Trade Organization (“WTO”) Members relentlessly pursue new regional trade agreements to achieve even faster economic growth than the extraordinary numbers posted by global trade rules, the smaller number of parties and their greater cultural affinity have led negotiators to address the intersection of trade and human rights to an extent unparalleled in the culturally disparate and near-unmanageable, 150-plus member WTO itself. These new provisions have used trade’s huge power to improve worker rights, secure environmental protections, and make initial inroads toward defending indigenous populations from trade’s adverse effects. Employing the perspectives both of trade negotiators and students of this halting progress toward the integration of trade and human rights, we have concluded that the single greatest barrier to engaging in regional trade agreements (“RTAs”) openly and unequivocally to reduce global poverty through human rights implementation is the near-impenetrable complexity of human rights norms.


Download Article (PDF)

Chinese Border Disputes Revisited: Toward a Better Interdisciplinary Synthesis

By: Roda Mushkat


China has long been embroiled in a wide array of territorial disputes and has occasionally flexed its military muscle in the process. Its conduct in such situations has been of great theoretical and practical relevance and has attracted considerable attention from scholars across the socio-legal spectrum. Researchers in the field of international law have carefully surveyed official and semi-official Chinese pronouncements and practices, while their social science counterparts have rigorously dissected key behavioral patterns. This is an inherently complex subject that this two-pronged approach has not yet been able to comprehensively address, however, because scholars engaged in the enterprise have only completed a partial exploration of a multifaceted phenomenon and insufficient interdisciplinary alignment. A potentially richer investigative platform, and more effective conceptual bridge building, may help narrow the gaps in the explanatory architecture.


Download Article (PDF)

IOSCO: The World Standard Setter for Globalized Financial Markets

By: Antonio Marcacci


As the current endless crisis clearly proves, world financial markets are closely interconnected. In order to provide a legal backdrop, a soft-law body, named the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), was established and tasked with encouraging an efficient flow of capital. Funded as a Pan-American, and subsequently worldwide, forum more than thirty years ago, IOSCO is a multilateral regulatory network whose members are the public regulators of more than ninety percent of the world’s securities and futures markets. It is devoted to promoting common and efficient regulations, setting the floor for the exchange of information between its members, improving the effective surveillance of international securities transactions, and increasing the mutual assistance necessary for the integrity of global financial markets, valued at over $800 trillion. IOSCO is now the primary institution through which international standards, memoranda, and guidelines concerning the securities markets are promulgated. This paper examines the way this relatively hidden organisation works by trying to figure out its regulatory role in the international financial arena.


Download Article (PDF)

Is the Middle East Moving Toward Islamism After the Arab Spring? The Case Study of the Egyptian Commercial and Financial Laws

By: Radwa S. Elsamen and Ahmed Eldakak


The first parliamentary elections that followed the Egyptian Revolution witnessed an unprecedented success for Islamists as they secured an overwhelming majority of seats in parliament, suggesting that they may intend to amend many laws to bring parliament into compliance with Islamic Shari’a. This article addresses legal challenges that will face the new majority if they decide to Islamize laws and regulations related to business and finance. Particularly, the article discusses Islamic money theory, trade, banking systems, consumer protection, insurance, competition, and tax systems. The article analyzes Egyptian business and finance laws to examine whether they comply with Islamic law. It then proceeds to explain the alternative Islamic principles that may replace several current rules. The article concludes that while some changes are foreseeable, there can be no expectation of radical change in the near future. Although the authors come to this conclusion, they analyze the legal issues without judging, supporting, or opposing the imposition of Islamic law.


Download Article (PDF)


Business Insolvency And The Irish Debt Crisis

By: Paul B. Lewis


Among the volume of material written about the Irish debt crisis and its impact over the past few years, strikingly little has been written about the ability to save a financially distressed company under Irish law and whether corporate restructuring could have mitigated some of the financial damage to Irish companies, particularly those in the property and construction industries. There is a reason for this. The number of filings under the Examinership law – the rough equivalent of Chapter 11 in the United States – remained small and relatively constant during both the recent boom and the more immediate bust periods of the Irish economy. This article examines the Irish approach to corporate restructuring and questions whether the law could have been put to good effect over the past couple of years.

Download Article (PDF)