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Part I How Practices Become Norms: The Continued Development of Shipping Law, 4 Spontaneous Standardization and the New Lex Maritima »

Bryan H. Druzin
From: The Role of Arbitration in Shipping Law
Edited By: Miriam Goldby, Loukas Mistelis
This chapter examines the processes whereby shipping law may converge internationally in the absence of state intervention. It outlines a theory explaining such convergence through the operation of network effects. The theory is based on the argument that because legal standards are instruments that facilitate interaction with a larger group, the inherent value of a legal standard as a means to that end increases with the number of other people who also subscribe to and employ the same legal standard. Therefore, a particular standard emerges as the dominant standard as it becomes more widely used for such interactions, and the number of people adopting it in turn also increases. The chapter argues that shipping law is especially susceptible to network effects because it exhibits particularly high levels of interaction across the globe. These effects therefore form a good explanation for standardization of shipping norms.