Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter uses the analytical framework of transnational legal ordering (TLO) developed by Halliday and Shaffer and applies it to the area of law and disasters. In contrast to the increasingly transnational legal nature of social ordering highlighted by Halliday and Shaffer, it argues that the emergence of transnational regulatory networks and cross-border principles or policies in the area of disaster management has been uneven and incomplete. Although there are many factors that help to explain why the law/disasters area has resisted the trend toward “transnationalization,” two stand out. One is the relative dearth of national laws and policies governing disaster management, which means that unlike other areas in which TLOs have emerged, there is an inadequate foundation of nation-specific laws and norms on which to build a transnational edifice. The second, closely related reason is that governments tend to “go it alone” when it comes to disaster management. Disasters can be difficult to predict, can carry an extraordinarily high price tag, can be geographically specific, and can affect people who lack the political clout to demand an official response. Rather than treating disaster management as an area of reciprocal risk in which the needs and interests of various countries are interdependent, therefore, nations generally manage disasters on an ad hoc, individual basis


Transnational legal norms, Terence C. Halliday, David Shaffer, TLO, disaster management, emergency relief, victim compensation, risk, prediction, preparedness, Japan, Fukushima nuclear reactor accident, France, insurance, September 11 terrorist attack, 9/11

Publication Title

Comparative Law and Regulation

Publication Citation

In Comparative Law and Regulation (David Zaring and Francesca Bignami eds., forthcoming 2015).