Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
Reclaiming International Law From Extraterritoriality
  • Austen L Parrish
A fierce debate ensues among leading international law theorists that implicates the role of national courts in solving global challenges. On the one side are scholars who are critical of international law and its institu-tions. These scholars, often referred to as Sovereigntists, see international law as a threat to democratic sovereignty. On the other side are scholars who support international law as a key means of promoting human and environmental rights, as well as global peace and stability. These scholars are the “new” Internationalists because they see non-traditional, non-state actors as appropriately enforcing international law at the sub-state level. The debate has had an impact. In recent years, the U.S. has disengaged from traditional sources of international law, and in particular, multilateral treaties. In its place, the U.S. and non-state actors use domestic laws, ap-plied extraterritorially, to exert international influence. Following the U.S. lead, other countries now increasingly apply their domestic laws extraterri-torially too. This Article addresses a topic that leading theorists have given scant attention – the rise of global extraterritoriality. It argues that the two pre-vailing dominant perspectives in international legal theory have miscalcu-lated the dangers that extraterritoriality poses. In so doing, the article ad-vocates for an approach that acknowledges changes in the international system, but also seeks to shore-up territorial sovereignty to prevent the problems that extraterritoriality creates. It thus offers a way beyond the stalemate currently existing in international law scholarship. Controver-sially, it concludes that international law scholars – from both the Sover-eigntist and new Internationalist perspective – should embrace and reclaim multilateral international lawmaking.
  • extraterritoriality,
  • sovereigntists,
  • internationalists,
  • hegemony,
  • international law,
  • multilateralism,
  • legislative jurisdiction,
  • prescriptive jurisdiction,
  • multilateral agreements,
  • conventions,
  • alien tort statute,
  • alien tort claims,
  • human rights,
  • legal theory,
  • koh,
  • slaughter,
  • constructivist,
  • extraterritorial,
  • cross border,
  • transnational,
  • transnationalism,
  • transboundary
Publication Date
Fall 2007
Citation Information
Austen L Parrish. "Reclaiming International Law From Extraterritoriality" (2007)
Available at: