Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law


Author: Dan Sarooshi

Title: Some Preliminary Remarks on the Conferral by States of Powers on International Organizations


This paper addresses the processes by which States confer their express powers on international organizations as well as the differing legal relationships that result from these conferrals. It is part of a longer, book-length, treatment of the conferrals by States of powers on international organizations.

There is a considerable lack of both clarity and consistent usage in the terms that are used to refer to the conferral by States of sovereign powers on international organizations. Such terms as 'ceding', 'alienation', 'transfer', 'delegation', and 'authorization' are used interchangeably by international and domestic courts as well as by commentators often to refer to the same conferral of power or the same term is used in a general way to refer to different types of conferrals. However not all conferrals of power are the same, and there are important differences that flow from the type of conferral for the legal relationship established between a State conferring power and an organization. The failure to distinguish between the different types of conferrals of power undermines analysis of the differing legal consequences of these conferrals as well as obscuring the domestic policy debates that surround the conferral of powers. It is for these reasons that this paper introduces a typology of the terms that can be used to describe conferrals by States of powers on international organizations; and then goes on to consider the first category in the proposed typology, an agency relationship that may flow from the conferral by States of powers on an organization.

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