How Domestic Legal Systems Respond to International Local Government Law: Between Accommodation, Resistance and Transformation

Carlo Colombo, M. Groenleer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Cities play a key role in today’s multi-level political and legal order. Due to the combined effects of decentralization, globalization and technological innovation, they are at the forefront of many pressing societal issues and use this position to develop nimble solutions thereto. Challenging the traditional state-centric perspective of international law, ‘international local government law’ shows how global institutions engage with cities directly. Specifically, these institutions promote a global model of the ideal city, defining how it should be organized, how its policies should be made, and how its relations with central authorities should be shaped. Yet, as cities are subject to national constitutional constraints and local level dynamics, this vertical interaction and its effects cannot be fully understood without considering features of the domestic legal system in which each local authority is embedded. The current chapter explores how national public law respond to the ideal city model as pursued by international local government law. Drawing on selected examples, we present a tentative framework advancing three possible responses of domestic legal systems to international local government law, namely resistance, accommodation and transformation. Moreover, a closer look at these responses reveals several challenges to the effectiveness and legitimacy of international local government law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on International Law and Cities
EditorsHelmut Philipp Aust, Janne E. Nijman
Place of PublicationCheltenham/Northampton
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978 1 78897 327 4
ISBN (Print)978 1 78897 327 4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2021

Publication series

SeriesResearch Handbooks in International Law series
SeriesResearch Handbooks in International Law

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