Democratic theories of secession argue that a democratic process makes secession legitimate. The procedure together with the will of a majority legitimate secession and they suffice for the constitution of a new independent sovereign subject. I raise four criticisms against this conception. Firstly, lacking a “just cause” justification, this democratic secession relies on the assumption that democracy may legitimately achieve any end whatsoever. Secondly, “democratic theory” does not resolve the central problem of theories of democratic self-determination: the delimitation of the demos. Thirdly, by no resolving the problem of delimitation, democratic secession creates “symmetry problem”: any group within the seceding territory must also be able to secede. Finally, the democratic theory does not resolve the reversibility issue: whilst a majority may take a secession decision, a similar majority may not retract the original decision.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. We will be announcing more details about the conference soon, including financial support to early career and global south scholars!