The Changing ‘Landscape’ of Sovereignty Viewed Through the Lens of International Tax: Reterritorialising the Offshore

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This paper reviews the ‘gaps’ that allow for the creation of the ‘offshore’ in international law and argue these are instead constituted by constraints on our spatial imaginary of law than by any ‘real’ gaps between state-jurisdictions. The modern practices of sovereignty by states and non-state actors are at odds with the implicit geography of international law which assumes a static and fixed concept of territory. By rethinking the relevant legal spaces of international law and the sovereign practices that constitute the supposedly deterritorialised offshore, we can see the offshore is actually onshore somewhere; we can reterritorialise the supposed deterritorialised competences. This paper identifies a desynchronisation between state territories and the actual exercise of sovereignty which presents as pseudo-deterritorialisation. Yet if both the concept of sovereignty and the implicit geography of international law confirm and reinforce one another in international law discourse, international lawyers are blind to the changing ‘landscape’ of sovereignty in international law.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 29
JournalCanadian Yearbook of International Law
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2022