Global Legal Studies Network –GLSN

Link researchers, practitioners, experts, teachers, devoted to the globalization of law.

The network “Global Legal Studies Network” (GLSN) of the Foundation of the MSH Paris aims to link researchers, practitioners, experts, teachers, who devote themselves to the globalization of law.

All around the "world" of research, centers on the “globalization of law” -or “transnational law” - are created, teaching programs and magazines devoted to it. Topics gradually are specified: "global justice", "global governance", "global regulation" ... movement of goods and people, the emergence or transformation of cultural and political spaces, financial and business regulation... The traditional legal cultural era (common law, Europe, Africa, Asia ...) are partially blended with legal practice and legal thinking more and more "global". Appears what might be called more accurately a transnational or trans-continental regulation and thought but in the double meaning of the" crossing " of a nation or continent but also in what is" beyond " a nation or continent.


From Energy law to Extractive law

Thirty years ago, the energy law discipline emerged especially in North America and Australia as an answer to the Transnational compagnies growing need due to the complexification of national regulations. Today, the extractive law discipline is emerging : Its scope may seem narrower  (Oil, gas and mining). Yet, it is global : (a.) it focuses on the global current standardization of extractive industries regulations and legal practices ; (b.) includes all the actors of the « extractive world » (i.e Transnational companies but also Host States, international and financial institutions, arbitrators and lawyers, NGOs, local and indigenous peoples) ; (c.) gathers lawyers from all five continents, especially the new extractive continents from the global south.


Extractive Activities Regulations. Empowering lawyers and civil society 

In 2017 begins a new program named « Extractive Activities Regulations. Empowering lawyers and civil society », in partnership with the International Society for Extractive Law and Practices. Extractive activities are the exploration, discovery but also developing, extracting and exploiting of minerals, oil and natural gas through international Private-Public-Partnerships. Extractive activities best exemplify the world economic and politic shift, to the South and East, with the emergence of new transnational players that are multinational corporations, NGOs, local populations, alongside the States and international organizations.

Firstly, this program on extractive activities aims to widen the expertise - and the power - of lawyers and the civil society, particularly in Africa and Asia. Indeed, the big oil, gas or mining contracts are the new global economic spaces of the world theory that pull the economic shift toward the South or the East. They also exemplify the slowly emerging political forums named by UN as the « world tripartite system of government »: States, multinational corporations, civil society together. However, lawyers only know very little about the technical aspects of these contracts, multinational corporations are still not very in tune with the civil society, and the civil society largely misunderstand the legal issues of the debates on the regulation of extractive activities (allocations of profits between States and multinational corporations, involvement of the transnational corporations in the development, the private-public partnership as a new method of international financing, environmental risks, transparency, local content, cross-border crisis, etc.). It’s crucial to increase the understanding of those new “forums” of legal globalization.

Secondly, this program is involved in structuring this new scientific field that is global law, whether we call it « globalization law », « transnational  law» or simply «global law». By focusing on the actors / subjects (i.e. the Global Legal Studies’ new topic of research) and not on the national state anymore (i.e. the traditional topic of legal sciences), the program tries to propose a new approach to the globalization of law & business, the so-called “normative spaces” theory of international law. Indeed, extractive activities are a perfect « practical case » to analyze the globalization of law, i.e. to structure international and multidisciplinary teams of researchers, to work out new analysis frames, to take part in the attempts to regulate globalization, spreading the knowledge on extractive activities by setting up trainings, e.g. the negotiation of big contracts, the creation of research networks on extractives activities.

« Extractive disputes » is a project that enables us to help to structure the debates around the energy and extractive operations question especially in Africa and Asia, but also south-America, etc. which is one of the major issues of the economic development and the emerging global governance. However, this project is now at the heart of the research program on the « Mondialisation du droit – Global Legal Studies Network (GLSN) », a scientific program from the  Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH-Paris). It is a question of pursuing this globalization of law that pushes a shift of law - in its’ practice but also in the way we do research - from Europe and North America toward Africa and Asia through four axis: analyzing, regulating, educating, linking.


Scientific officer


Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations

Panel opening
Gilles Lhuilier, scientific director of the programme Global Legal Studies Network, participated to the working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights at the U.N. in Geneva.

Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations

Panel closing
Gilles Lhuilier, scientific director of the programme Global Legal Studies Network, participated to the working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights at the U.N. in Geneva.