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A fresh view on the hard/soft law divide: implications for international insolvency of enterprise groups

Mevorach, Irit


Irit Mevorach


It is the orthodox belief that treaties and—within the EU—directly applicable regulations represent hard, binding international law, while other international instruments-including model laws-are forms of soft law. In a previous publication 2 I discussed how the traditional distinction between hard and soft law is less firm, due particularly to economic and behavioural implications of instrument choice and design. Building on that analysis, this article focuses on the new rules for the international insolvency of enterprise groups in the Recast EU Insolvency Regulation 2015 (" the EIR ") and in the forthcoming UNCITRAL model law on enterprise groups. Contrasting the instruments and using a multi-layered assessment illustrates the blur between hard and soft law. This article argues that only on the first layer— the agreement to participate in the international instrument—the EIR (chapter on groups) is robustly harder than the UNCITRAL instrument. On the second and third layers—enforcement of the instrument and the agreement on hard, more complete, rules within it—the UNCITRAL instrument is almost as hard or even harder than the EIR, and, as such, more promising. The article also provides certain concrete conclusions regarding the way that regional and global regimes may be hardened in the future to meet the challenges of enterprise groups' insolvencies.


Mevorach, I. (2019). A fresh view on the hard/soft law divide: implications for international insolvency of enterprise groups. Michigan Journal of International Law, 40(3), 505-530

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 10, 2019
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 21, 2019
Journal Michigan Journal of International Law
Print ISSN 1052-2867
Publisher University of Michigan, School of Law
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 3
Pages 505-530
Public URL
Publisher URL


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