Global Law

Insight | February 2017

Global Law
Image: ‘Unity’ by Unknown Artist

The idea of a ratified ‘global law’ is a concept that once seemed fantastical and yet by all accounts appears now like the primary ingredient to social, industrial and civil equilibrium.

But how does this happen and what steps might be needed to preserve the needs of the many from the wants of the few? To date the concept of a single law is more convincing than any suggestion that genuine efforts are being taken to construct a jurisdiction without physical bounds, however it fails to prevent visionaries from imagining such a world or pondering what form that framework might take.

Full Professor of International Law at the University of Salerno Italy Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo discussed her idea of global law in 2015 and chose to use a web-like hierarchy to describe how each individual player would forge alliance with the next because in her opinion:

“Global law is elastic enough to integrate the heterogeneous elements of the various and different legal orders into a unitary framework. It is up to the community of international legal scholars/lawyers to manage the complexity in the unit of the web of the global law system; the unitary framework retains the flexibility to allow for respecting the diversity of the plurality of embodied legal orders.”

Yet regardless of how one might perceive an ideology, the sheer scale of expectation asked of legal megafirms  and governmental bodies still seems disproportionate to the discipline required to undertake it. Having investigated current online debate the results are discouraging to say the least and when the worlds highest grossing law firm Latham & Watkins LLP offers no visible research or even discussion of a unitary law it suggests that perhaps the practice industry think-tanks are predisposed to monitoring investment strategies over any notion that we may well be walking headlong into dispensation of justice from a centralised platform.

On a smaller scale the benefits of a singular jurisdiction were recently implemented in October 2016 within Northern Ireland, and while not exactly a transcontinental shift the objectives become evident even if only from an administrative level as was explained in a document published by the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service (NICTS) which said:

“There will no longer be County Court Divisions or Petty Sessions Districts and all relevant court documents have been amended to reflect this. The words “County Court Division of….” And “Petty Sessions District of……”will no longer appear on any court order or other documentation as court templates have been adapted.”

Whereas in the United Kingdom we have a groundswell of opposition to the presence of Sharia laws and if there was ever a reason for the unification of law this concept would surely warrant a compelling body of evidence against the secular nature of unregulated doctrine. Formed as part of this resistance the website onelawforall.org.uk is built upon a collective determination to remove the propagation of inequality through religious laws in hope of the reestablishment of democratic values. This growing objection has been defined through a powerful rhetoric claiming simply that:

“Sharia law is discriminatory and unjust, particularly against women and children.
Sharia courts in Britain are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion.”

It is suggested that the oppressive effects of this ancient law have been felt through gender specificity which is not an ideology that could ever hope to find its way into the annals of any ‘new world’ law; and yet because there is no such codification, legal splinter factions are left free to flourish within the confines of domestic legislature.

In India the application of a single industry law appears to provide huge benefits to small-scale factory owners desperately trying to navigate the legal loopholes that strangle economic growth and preserve monopolisation. With the design of improving manufacturing processes the labor ministry created new legislation in order to overcome the problems faced by the nations entrepreneurs and workers alike, as explained by Mahendra Singhi in her article for the Times of India:

“At present, small units have to comply with 44 Central labour laws and over 100 state laws…which discourages them to hire workers from the organized sector, and thus denying them basic rights…the government hopes that a single unified law will ensure less cost to the owner and better minimum wages, bonus and maternity benefits to the workers.”

It would seem for now at least that while unitary rule and governance is constitutionally, commercially and quasi-socially acceptable, the thought of or preclusion to entrustment of a law written to serve a race of people is both a bridge too far and paradoxically swept from the agenda; which while sounding trite in its definition ought not mislead readers into believing a world law of some kind is not too far beyond the horizon.

This then raises the question of were a unitary law to become a reality then how would those changes begin to materialise? Will a spark of legal renaissance ignite from within the people or will the centralisation of power emanate from the core of contributory states? Contrastingly does commerce now helm the wheel of judicial evolution or is politics driving that bus? In the latter event it seems that the lines frequently blur so recipients of information inevitably become less concerned with socio-political commentary than the motives underlying it, although whichever sector pushes first for answers, the time for such legal reimagining is overly ripe for discourse.

 

 

Author: Neil Egan-Ronayne

Author, scholar, researcher and humble foodie...

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