Competing Security and Economic Perspectives in International Law's Response to Globalisation


Security and economics are two different lenses through which the international legal responses to the challenges of globalisation might be examined. Security was long the dominant perspective of the international legal system, with its focus on inter-State war and peace. In the second half of the 20th-century, international law has slowly moved beyond these foundations in an attempt to respond to the full complexity of globalisation. These developments in international law have reinforced the increasing import of economics in the globalisation narrative. However, the development of international economic law, chasing the realities of an increasingly interdependent global community, has focused on trade and investment liberalisation with limited regard for alternative conceptual frameworks. This fragmentation of perspectives on international law is as much a sociological phenomenon as it is a technical one – the specialisation of international law drives and is driven by the specialisation of international lawyers. Where an economic perspective appears to have emerged dominant, this has challenged the responsiveness of the international legal system to competing priorities, including the repackaged 21st-century concerns of security in the form of global non-State terrorism. The aim of my project is to strengthen the lines of communication between specialists and generalist international lawyers. I will focus on the regime interaction between general international law and the increasingly specialised field of international economic law with a view to evaluating the systemic consequences of fragmentation on the capacity of the international legal system to respond to the different priorities of the security and economic perspectives on globalisation.


Kimberley Trapp is an Early Career Fellow at CRASSH, Easter 2012.

Dr Kimberley Trapp is currently  a College Lecturer in Law at the University. She gained her PhD in Law in 2009. She was awarded the Yorke Prize (for dissertation of distinction that makes a substantial contribution to its relevant field of legal knowledge) in  2010.  During 2006 and 2007 she was the Law clerk to Vice-President Al Khasawneh and Judge Simma at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Her publications include State Responsibility for International Terrorism, Oxford University Press 2010.


Tel: +44 1223 766886