Laurence Boisson de Chazournes

is Professor of International Law and International Organization at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). Her areas of expertise include the law of international organizations, international environmental law, international economic law, and international dispute settlement. She was a Senior Counsel to the World Bank between 1995 and 1999. Professor Boisson de Chazournes serves as a counsel and arbitrator in various dispute settlement procedures, including the International Court of Justice, WTO, and ICSID. She is also an advisor to various international organizations, including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Labour Organization. She is a member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. Professor Boisson de Chazournes is the author and editor of fourteen books and many other publications. (

Research Project

Relationships and interfaces between regional and universal organizations: The need for new legal approaches

Regional and subregional international organizations have been growing fast over the last decades, both in number and in importance. The relation of such regional and subregional organizations with each other and with universal international organizations has given rise to new problems in international law. Should these relations be of one kind, i.e. subordination or co-ordination across the board or should they be differentiated, i.e. characterized by cooperation and coordination in certain domains and by subordination in others? There is a need to explore further the legal issues spawned by these relationships and interfaces between international organizations. It is important to identify emerging legal approaches that will contribute to anchoring these relations between international organizations in the rule of law so as to make them legitimate and stable. Legal techniques such as subsidiarity, democratic participation, accountability or harmonization may be helpful in this respect.