Public Reason: Vol. 4, No. 1-2, June-December 2012
Just International Normative Structure
Chong Un Choe

This paper offers a solution to the global justice challenges presented by the power and influence of global governance institutions and other international actors. The international situation suffers from a fundamental lack of the sort of normative structure common in the domestic context to provide for justice and the protection of human rights. My solution involves an alternative justice-based account of legitimacy that requires substantial compliance with what I call a “Just International Normative Structure” grounded on the principles of natural justice, specifically due process and formal equality. It is due process and formal equality when specified with the relevant details that provide the rules of order and procedure, judgment and review, impartiality, transparency, accountability, and fair dealing. I argue that any adequate theory of legitimacy must overcome objections concerning effective application. I briefly discuss Allen Buchanan’s two proposed accounts for international legitimacy and identify weaknesses related to effective application in these proposals. I then offer an alternative account of international political legitimacy and explain how it addresses the weaknesses in Buchanan’s proposals and provides a solution to the structural problems in the global context.

Key words: international legitimacy, global justice, procedural justice, fair dealing, accountability, global governance institutions, and human rights.


Un Choe, Chong. 2012. Just International Normative Structure. Public Reason 4 (1-2): 3-17.