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Authorities: Conflicts, Cooperation and Transnational Legal Theory

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Interactions between state, international, transnational, and intra-state law involve overlapping, and sometimes conflicting, claims to legitimate authority. This has led scholars to new theoretical explanations of sovereignty, constitutionalism, and legality, but there has been little treatment of authority itself. This book asks whether, and under what conditions, there can be multiple legitimate authorities with overlapping or conflicting domains. Can legitimate authority be shared between state, supra-state, and non-state actors, and if so, how should they relate to one another?

Roughan argues that understanding authority in contemporary pluralist circumstances requires a new conception of relative authority, and a new theory of its legitimacy. The theory of relative authority treats the interdependence of authorities, and the relationships in which they are engaged, as critical to any assessment of their legitimacy. It offers a tool for evaluating inter-authority relationships prevalent in international, transnational, state, and non-state constitutional practice, while suggesting significant revisions to the idea that law, in general or even by necessity, claims to have legitimate authority.

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Roughan Nicole
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Nicole Roughan is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, and formerly of the National University of Singapore where she was Associate Professor and Deputy-Director of the Centre for Legal Theory. Nicole is currently working on a new book,Officials. In 2017 Nicole was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society Te Aparangi, to pursue a five-year project on Legalities: Jurisprudence without Borders.


Part I: Authority and Plurality

2: Understanding Authority

3: Plural Authorities and Inter-Authority Relationships

4: Plurality of Authority in Legal/Constitutional Theory

Part II: The Puzzles of Plural Authority

5: Compatible and Complementary Relationships

6: Actual and Apparent Conflict

Part III: A Pluralist Conception of Authority

7: A Conjunctive Justification

8: 'Relative Authority'

9: The Relative Authority of Law: 'Pluralist Jurisprudence'

Part IV: Relative Authority in International, Transnational (and) Constitutional Law

10: Relative Authority in Public International Law and Transnational Law

11: Understanding Europe: from Constitutional Pluralism to Relative Authority

12: Relative Authority Inside the State

13: A Case Study in Relative Authority: Crown-Maori Relationships in New Zealand

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