Friday, July 23, 2021

New Book by Shahla Ali: Forming Transnational Dispute Settlement Norms: Soft Law and the Role of UNCITRAL's Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific (Edward Elgar Publishing)

Forming Transnational Dispute Settlement Norms:
Soft Law and the Role of UNCITRAL's Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific
(Asian Commercial, Financial and Economic Law and Policy series)
Shahla Ali
Edward Elgar Publishing
Published on 25 May 2021
288 pp.
Description: This thought-provoking book examines whether regional centres associated with global legal institutions facilitate expanded citizen engagement in global soft law making. Through an analysis of empirical research into the role of decentralized soft law making in the East Asian region, it investigates the influence of such regional centres in overcoming representational deficits in the design of cross-border dispute settlement norms.


'Shahla Ali provides a richly detailed case study that illuminates how soft law is actually created and becomes effective. In doing so, she also shows how transnational dispute resolution norms are developed and how they become a form of legal regulation even in the absence of coercive enforcement power. Thus, this book is a must for scholars of global legal pluralism, practitioners of transnational dispute resolution, and all those interested in understanding in granular detail how international law is created and develops power over time.'

– Paul Schiff Berman, The George Washington University, US

'Shahla Ali's excellent new book on the role of UNCITRAL's Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific in soft law-making shows the importance of rigorous, in-depth empirical analysis to test and support theoretical arguments calling for direct citizen participation to confirm the legitimacy of global norms.'

- Steven Wheatley, Lancaster University Law School, UK

'International commercial arbitration has long been subject to criticism for unequal access to and participation in shaping the rules and practices of this transnational legal order. Professor Ali's book breaks new ground on this key issue for the legitimacy of commercial arbitration by persuasively documenting a success story in broadening and deepening Asian state participation. The book shows that the success of UNCITRAL's International Trade Law Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific may provide a model for other regions.'

- Bryant Garth, UCI Law, US and author of Dealing in Virtue

'This book leverages original data and novel methods to show convincingly how a regional soft lawmaking institution can overcome deliberative deficits, asymmetries in lawmaking influence, and failures to appropriate national and local creativity in global trade lawmaking. By imaginatively ''mapping the middle,'' Shahla Ali persuasively demonstrates the integral ways that a regional body can consolidate responsive transnational legal orders (TLOs) by harnessing state and non-state innovation and adaptations to diverse economic and legal contexts. In so doing Ali discovers new variants of TLOs and opens up exciting frontiers for research and theory.'

- Terence Halliday, American Bar Foundation, and co-author of Global Lawmakers: International Organizations in the Crafting of World Markets

'This study of the growing role of Asia-Pacific countries in the governance of international dispute resolution combines sophisticated treatments of the relevant legal instruments and theoretical literature with rigorous empirical analyses. It is impossible to ignore this evidence of decentralized transnational legal ordering and how it might be fostered by regional institutions.'

- Kevin E. Davis, NYU School of Law, US

'It is rare to have 5 years of our work performance scrutinized academically, and peer-reviewed. I cannot escape a sense of relief after reading this remarkable work by Professor Shahla Ali. Her work shows the importance of having more Regional Offices, not only of UNCITRAL, but, I dare to say, also of the HCCH and UNIDROIT. This book demonstrates how they are key enablers of legal reforms and relevant platforms to ensure equal access to legal knowledge. One of the possible conclusions reading this book, is that such work reduces non-tariff (sometimes invisible) trade barriers, and has tremendous side effects like levelling the playing field for practitioners and legal educators from parts of the world often meriting less attention and resources. For example, without such work, we would have never seen DPR Korea or Laos adopting the CISG and its core value: party autonomy. This book is indispensable for any one engaged with legal reforms based on international cooperation.'

- João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific (2013-2018)

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