Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorDawkins, Kevin
dc.contributor.authorStyles, Robert
dc.identifier.citationStyles, R. (2013). The Role of Non-Government Organisations in International Law (Thesis, Master of Laws). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the prolific increase of non-government organisations (NGOs) and their involvement in international law-making. NGO is an amorphous term incorporating various entities established by private initiative as opposed to state or state-like bodies. The thesis begins by examining the emergence of such private groups from the late 18th century within international law-making forums, an area traditionally restricted to sovereign states alone. The advent of globalisation fostered the ability of private citizens to confront mutual concerns with state governance across transnational networks. Proposals during the first half of the 20th century to legitimise this NGO activity by endowing NGOs with international legal personality proved unsuccessful, though the ability to recognise national legal personality across states has come to be protected by some binding and non-binding international legal instruments. Presently, with the sole exception of the International Committee of the Red Cross, NGOs do not have international legal personality and are unlikely to gain it in the near future. Nonetheless, NGOs increasingly interact with states, inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) and judicial bodies. The thesis seeks to establish the role NGOs fulfil by considering selected examples post-World War II where NGOs have successfully engaged in state-based deliberations. The institutional mechanisms of several IGOs, regional organisations, and international judicial bodies are also examined, along with the practice of several national courts dealing with matters of international law. These show that, for the most part, IGOs and judicial bodies frequently provide for consultation with NGOs. However, this is ultimately discretionary and in practice the likelihood of a NGO being able to formally participate within such institutions varies greatly. States retain control and exclude NGOs that may be overly partisan or confrontational. From the institutions examined several themes emerge. NGOs are increasingly permitted to participate at the international level where the NGO is impartial, transparent and provides expertise, concern, or representation of otherwise ignored interests specifically related to matters being dealt with by the relevant international institution. While there is no guaranteed right to participate, the value of transparency and accountability NGOs bring to international law-making means they play an important role at the international level, which may expand in the future.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectnon-governmental organisation
dc.subjectinter-governmental organisation
dc.subjectinternational law
dc.subjectinternational law-making
dc.subjectcivil society
dc.subjectinternational court
dc.subjectlegal personality
dc.titleThe Role of Non-Government Organisations in International Law
dc.language.rfc3066en of Law of Laws of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
 Find in your library

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item is not available in full-text via OUR Archive.

If you would like to read this item, please apply for an inter-library loan from the University of Otago via your local library.

If you are the author of this item, please contact us if you wish to discuss making the full text publicly available.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record