New Forms of Normative Relationing in a Pluralist Legal Order: Interface Interactions in the Area of Corporate Social Responsibility

International law is confronted with an unprecedented density of normative frameworks of differing degrees of normativity (hard law, soft law) – across governance levels (international, regional, national, transnational) and around a multiplicity of topics (environment, trade, human rights). This paper addresses the overarching question of how different bodies of norms relate to each other by looking at instances and sites of relationing in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). What happens, for example, when non-binding CSR norms are brought into relation with human rights obligations addressed to states? The ultimate aim is to develop a typology of how vertical and horizontal legal interfaces are managed through mechanisms of coupling or distancing. The findings suggest that, contrary to the diagnosis of increasing fragmentation, the international order is becoming increasingly enmeshed, as demonstrated by the interlinkages between various regulatory instruments.