LAW AND SOCIAL CHANGE: THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSNATIONAL REGULATION
The International Doctoral Programme aims at studying and better understanding the impact of massive social changes led by the gradual overcoming of national barriers on national legal systems. In particular, the main focus of the Program is on the governance of transnational markets and on the interplay between transnational regulation and European law.
Increases in global trade and investment flows, the opening of new markets, the development of new technologies (in particular ICT’s and biotechnologies), have led in many areas to significant shifts in the axis of regulation: from the domestic to the transnational; from the public to the private; from the formal to the informal. Such developments in the regulatory arena raise a set of important questions, which deserve careful analysis. They may be grouped along two major dimensions:
- phenomenology, features, and consequences of the transnational private and public regulation;
- impact of transnational regulation on national legal systems.
(a) The regulation of transnational markets and social activities is a phenomenon of growing importance in many areas, which are of the utmost concern for several legal disciplines, such as private law, international private law, labor law, commercial law, consumer protection, public and administrative law. Among the others, the areas most influenced by transnational regulation are:
- financial markets
- corporate governance
- food safety
- data gathering and data flow
- consumer rights
Private bodies, and mainly non-profit organizations, are increasingly entrusted with the elaboration, monitoring and enforcement of standards, which are often relied upon by public regulators and produce, directly or indirectly, binding effects on many market and non market actors. All such activities – from the creation to the implementation of standards – are to a large extent carried out on the basis of private law, which nowadays works as a critical regulatory instrument. In this context, private international law rules have also to be taken into account, insofar as they enable – one might only refer to the Internet – the transnational harmonization on a private law basis.
(b) The increasing de-nationalization of the regulatory powers, has a significant impact on national law, not only with regards to market relationships, but also to non-market (status and family) relationships:
- private and public law confront themselves with a set of legal sources much wider and richer than it was in the past, and this leads to important changes also in the way in which legal phenomena are presented and conceptualized by the jurist (legal methodology always tends to be influenced by the structure of the sources, and the other way round);
- they refer less to territorial than to functional criteria, reflecting the scope of relevant markets and their boundaries;
- the transnational dimension of regulatory law interacts with a more traditional substratum, often giving rise to the phenomenon of the “legal irritants”;
- substantive law and procedural law increasingly overlap to further the aims of market regulation;
- technological constraints deeply affect the workings of the law in several areas (from privacy to intellectual property).
Research shall contribute to a deeper understanding of transnational regulation and assess its impact on the development of national and European law. The PhD program attributes great importance to the cultural dimension of legal phenomena, understanding the law as part of a tradition; therefore, candidates should be capable of engaging in synchronic and diachronic comparisons. Inter-disciplinary approaches, such as law & economics and law & society, are welcome, also as a tool to better appreciate the peculiar physiognomy of legal methodology.
University of Roma Tre
University of Vilnius; University College Dublin; University of Lyon 2; Birkbeck, University of London; University of Luxembourg
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