Territory in the Law of Jurisdiction: Imagining Alternatives

  • Cedric RyngaertEmail author
Part of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law book series (NYIL, volume 47)


Territory is central to the doctrine of international jurisdiction. However, the use of territory as the jurisdictional linchpin is a political choice, the result of a confluence of historically specific political, material, epistemic, and above all mapping practices. The political contingency of territory begs the question whether alternative, non-territorial jurisdictional concepts could be contemplated. In this contribution, community, temporality, and justice are explored. The territorial imbrications of these jurisdictional alternatives are acknowledged, but it is highlighted how territory can in fact be re-conceptualized in the service of ‘its others’. Opting for the ‘others’ and for a novel conceptualization of territory remains a political choice. However, the political character of jurisdiction is not something to lament, but rather to celebrate, as it creates opportunities for a variety of political actors to have an impact on the actual application and construction of the un(der)determined notions of jurisdiction and territory, and ultimately on the modes of exercise of public authority. The salience of these theoretical ideas is exemplified by applying them to the case of transnational human rights litigation against corporations, a manifestation of socio-legal globalization that encapsulates the key role played by jurisdiction in negotiating claims of authority.


Territory Jurisdiction Space Community Time Justice Legal theory Human rights Litigation 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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