Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Compared to ‘illegitimacy’, ‘legitimacy’ has a more precise meaning in political theory and sociology, focusing on the justification and acceptance of political authority – the authority of the International Whaling Commission to ban commercial whaling, for example, or of the World Trade Organisation to review measures adopted pursuant to environmental agreements. A legitimate institution is one that has a right to govern – for example, based on tradition, expertise, legality, or public accountability – rather than one relying on the mere exercise of power. In recent years, legitimacy has begun to emerge as an issue not only in international law generally but also in international environmental law more specifically. This article deals with the issue of legitimacy. It first looks at the concept of legitimacy and then presents a typology of legitimacy theories, why legitimacy is a growing issue in international environmental law, and alternative bases of legitimacy, focusing on democracy, participation and transparency, and expertise and effectiveness. The article concludes by considering how to develop trust in international environmental institutions.

Keywords: legitimacy, international law, international environmental law, legitimacy theories, democracy, participation, transparency, expertise, effectiveness, trust

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.