Making Law or Shaping Law? The role of law, lawyers and CGPCS Working Group 2 in the fight against piracy

Dr. Douglas Guilfoyle, University College London & Associate Prof. Birgit Feldtmann, University of Southern Denmark.

One of the central issues in connection with approaching the problem of piracy in the region of the Horn of Africa has been the question of the legal frame work for counter-piracy. Here the core question was what kind of “counter-piracy tools” the frame work in international law (and subsequently in relevant domestic legislations) is providing and whether the frame work for counter-piracy is sufficient to meet the problem of piracy in the 21th century?

Working Group 2 on legal issues has been a central player in dealing with the legal questions at stake at the international level. The paper is dealing with the question of how WG2 functioned as a legal community and of what can be described as the legal effect of WG2. The paper draws together two different approaches:

• first, it attempts to place working group to within the context of a wider literature about international governance and law making processes and the role of lawyers in those processes; and

• second, it introduces a qualitative dimension based on interviews with a number of participants in WG2.

The paper will also draw particular attention to the role of international and national law in efforts to combat Somali piracy. Fundamentally, it approaches WG2 as a form of transgovernmental cooperation or governance: a relatively horizontal meeting of technical experts drawn from government, industry and academia drawn together to share (and create) knowledge and best practices. WG2 also served as a platform to promote more direct forms of bilateral co-operation (such as the ‘criminal justice chain’ involved in the prosecution and repatriation of Somali pirates) and had an influence on the course of policy debate (most particularly over the choice between international and regional forms of prosecution). The paper comes to certain broad conclusions about the effectiveness of WG2 and what lessons could be learned in future. The full paper will be available soon.

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