Document Type



This Article seeks to develop a frame of reference for comprehending legitimacy structures in emerging global economic governance regimes. To that end, it provides, in contradistinction from positivist and pragmatist approaches, an alternative normative justificatory framework for soft law. As its very name suggests, soft law is a law-like phenomenon, distinct from classical notions of law, yet no less significant, and hence worthy of receiving systematic moral analysis. It is therefore reasonable to draw upon philosophy of law as an intellectual resource for undertaking such a conceptual endeavor. Accordingly, this Article examines philosophical justifications for evolving soft law syndicates that profess to impose obligations on business enterprises and other participants dealing with human rights and sustainability matters. The Article concludes that a naturalistic cosmopolitan jurisprudence that embraces the intrinsic value of rule of law and human rights provides a vital intellectual pathway for surmounting legitimacy gaps in global economic governance.