“The Hybrid Legal-Scientific Dynamic of Transnational Scientific Institutions,” Oren Perez


Thursday, April 9, 2015, 4:30pm


301 Marx Hall, Princeton University


Oren Perz

Oren Perez has an LLB (Magna Cum Laude ) from Tel Aviv University and LL.M. (1997), Ph.D. (2001) from London School of Economics and Political Science. He primarily works in the fields of Environmental Regulation, Transnational Law, Legal Theory and E-democracy. He has won several prestigious grants including a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Scholarship (Chevening Scholarship) and a Marie Curie Fellowship (during his studies at LSE) and various research grants, including grants from the Israeli Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Science and the Israeli Science Foundation. Among his most recent publications are How Law Changes the Environmental Mind: An Experimental Study of the Effect of Legal Norms on Moral Perceptions and Civic Enforcement, 36 Journal of Law & Society (May 2009) 501-535 (with Y. Feldman); "Private Environmental Governance as Ensemble Regulation: A Critical Exploration of Sustainability Indexes and the New Ensemble Politics," Theoretical Inquiries in Law: Vol. 12 : No. 2, Article 7; Whose Administrative Law is it Anyway? How Global Norms Reshape the Administrative State 46 CORNELL INT'L L.J. 455 (2013) (with Daphne Barak-Erez);  Courage, Regulatory Responsibility, and the Challenge of Higher-Order Reflexivity, Regulation and Governance Volume 8, Issue 2, pages 203 - 221, June 2014.


The objective of the present article is to develop a better understanding of the institutional dynamic of transnational regulatory scientific institutions (RSIs). RSIs play a significant role in the transnational regulatory process by mediating between the scientific community and policy-making bodies. I argue that RSIs have a hybrid structure involving both political-legal and epistemic authority. The hybrid structure of RSIs, their capacity to exert both normative and epistemic authority, constitutes an innovative response to the demand of modern society for scientific certainty and to the scarcity of normative power in the international domain. This hybrid nature has a triple structure, involving three complementary pairs: law~science, law~non-law, and science~pseudoscience. I examine the way in which RSIs cope with the challenge of maintaining their epistemic and legal authority against the tensions generated by their hybrid structure. The discussion of hybrid authority is related to the problem of scientific uncertainty. I examine this theoretical argument drawing on an in-depth analysis of three RSIs that reflect the institutional diversity of the RSI network: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and the European Committee of Homeopaths (ECH). I conclude with a discussion of some of the policy issues associated with the institutional design of RSIs. The policy discussion refers first to the risk posed by RSIs' hybrid structure to their internal stability; and second to some potential adverse social impacts which need to be considered alongside RSIs' projected benefits.

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