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Emerging voices of young academics represent a dynamic and promising cohort of scholars and researchers who are poised to make significant contributions to their fields. They bring a fresh perspective, innovation, and a commitment to advancing knowledge and scholarship within their areas of expertise.

The monographs in this series are drawn from:

  • The winner and runner-up of the annual Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award;
  • Doctoral theses written and defended by emerging African scholars within the last 5 years; and
  • Any monographs written by scholars who are younger than 40 years old.
Re-Imagining Sovereign Debt in International Law through the lens of Socio-Economic Rights
Author: Muhammad Bello
ISBN: 978-1-0672371-1-0
Pages: 400
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF:  Available


About the publication 

Re-imagining sovereign debt examines the extent to which sovereign debtors’ contractual obligations may be honoured where the socio-economic rights of their citizens face clear danger of non-realisation. It critiques the foundational legal paradigm that influences and shapes the substance of the sovereign debt regime. In doing this, the author employs legal theory to show the inadequacies of the regime in terms of its failure to embrace the dynamism of sovereign debt which he characterises as a debt with a complex mix of public-private elements, hybridity of norms and multiplicity of interests beyond the two-sided creditor-debtor matrix. By locating socio-economic rights in all critical phases of the regime, the author shows that the recurring circles of debt crises are linked to the continuing influence of the private law paradigm. The book offers a fresh perspective to re-imagine sovereign debt using insights from transnational legal theorists and advocates prioritising socio-economic rights considerations in debt contracting, restructuring and adjudication through a more concrete recognition of creditors’ responsibilities. Re-imagining sovereign debt will interest lawyers, policymakers, diplomats, scholars and researchers interested in the law, history and politics of sovereign debt.

Table of Contents

About the author 
The Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award  
List of abbreviations  

 Chapter 1: Sovereign debt in context

1 Introduction  
2 Socio-economic rights in sovereign debt governance  
3 Deconstructing the liberal legal paradigm  
4 Structure  

 Chapter 2: Conceptualising sovereign debt in international law

1 Introduction  
2 Nature and forms of sovereign debt  
3 Sovereign debt default and international responsibility 
4 Conceptualising ‘sovereign debt governance’ 
5 Conclusion  

 Chapter 3: Socio-economic rights and sovereign debt governance

1 Introduction  
2 Human rights in context: Legal and theoretical issues  
3 Socio-economic rights in context  
4 Socio-economic rights and sovereign debt governance  
5 Conclusion  

 Chapter 4: Socio-economic rights in sovereign debt restructuring

1 Introduction  
2 Socio-economic rights in the history of sovereign debt defaults  
3 Socio-economic rights in SDR  
4 Socio-economic rights in SDR: Roles of the UN and its agencies 
5 Sovereign debt, maximum available resources and progressive realisation of socio-economic rights 
6 Vulture funds litigations and socio-economic rights   
7 Conclusion  

 Chapter 5: Socio-economic rights in sovereign debt adjudication

1 Introduction  
2 Sovereign debt adjudication: Theories, forms and scope  
3 Socio-economic rights and SDAs by official creditors  
4 Private creditors, SDA and socio-economic rights
5 Discerning the attitudes of courts and arbitral tribunals
6 Conclusion  

 Chapter 6: Conclusion

1 Prioritising socio-economic rights 
2 A proposition from legal theory 
3 Re-imagining sovereign debt governance  




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