On the Internationalisation and Harmonisation of Archival Law
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAndresen H. On the Internationalisation and Harmonisation of Archival Law. European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance. 2020;7(1):64-88 https://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22134514-00701002
Archival laws exist in most countries, with some similarities due to a common professional basis. Over several decades, regional and global laws have evolved in different fields imposing requirements, or expectations, for reliable and accessible archives. Merely a few attempts have been made to harmonise archival law in the sense of pursuing a goal of rule similarity. Still, there seems to be an increase of areas where international law or regional harmonisation of laws presupposes archival law with a capacity to safeguard creation and preservation of reliable archives, documenting government activities. Even without manifest goals of harmonising archival law into uniform rules, the broad range of emerging requirements on reliable archives may lead to some form of approximation of archival law. Following a broad account of developments in this field, Sections 2 through 4, there is a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of stronger or weaker modes of harmonisation. Strong harmonisation could perhaps more convincingly safeguard the reliability of archives, at the cost of a possible lock-in of the scope of archival law. Weaker forms of harmonisation yield more differentiated archival laws. On the other hand, weak harmonisation may be more adaptive to developments in adjacent fields.