Legal pluralism has gained ground as a framework for lawmaking in transnational private law in times of globalization. Yet, its descriptive and normative underpinnings are underexplored. Why would it offer a better framework than state-centric, positivist views which have served reasonably well in securing private law values such as legal certainty and fairness (incl. the protection of weaker parties)? This paper explores these questions, noting from the outset that an inquiry that moves away from the idea of global legal pluralism towards a more defined institutional context is likely to be more effective in providing mechanisms by which legal pluralism can be ‘managed’.