This article revisits the work of Mohammed Bedjaoui, the Algerian jurist and diplomat who played a key role in coordinating efforts to garner support for the NIEO. Focusing on his 1979 study Towards a New International Economic Order, it examines Bedjaoui’s attempt to ground his call for a structural transformation of world order in a sustained defense of legal universalism and closely related critique of legal formalism. Further, it argues that this insistence on a wholesale reconfiguration of international life can only be appreciated against the background of Bedjaoui’s decades-long engagement with the Third World, including, crucially, his involvement in the Algerian war of national liberation.