Picture Credit: International Association of Judges
Law has traditionally been the province of the nation state, whose courts and police enforce legal rules. By contrast, international law has been comparatively weak, with little effective enforcement powers. But globalization is changing the contours of law and creating new global legal institutions and norms. The International Criminal Court promises to bring to justic odious public offenders based on a worldwide criminal code, while inter-governmental cooperation increasingly brings to trial some of the most notorious international criminals. Business law is globalizing fastest of all, as nations agree to standard regulations, rules and legal practices. Diplomats and jurists are creating international rules for bankruptcy, intellectual property, banking procedures and many other areas of corporate law. In response to this internationalization, and in order to serve giant, transnational companies, law firms are globalizing their practice. The biggest firms are merging across borders, creating mega practices with several thousand professionals in dozens of countries.
The UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia address the legal responsibilities of individuals who have committed crimes of war and crimes against humanity. National courts, too, have exercised jurisdiction over world leaders, and some, such as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, have been charged by courts in many countries. The International Criminal Court will unite this process to draft one, internationally acceped ruling. This page tracks these and other developments that bring hope of a more just international order.
The ATCA allows any individual to sue another individual or entity in US federal court for violations of the "laws of nations," including human rights law. There are recent efforts to use ATCA to sue transnational corporations for violations of international law in countries outside the US.
Universal Jurisdiction allows national courts to try cases of the gravest crimes against humanity, even if these crimes are not committed in the national territory and even if they are committed by government leaders of other states.
The Bush administration has embarked on a strategy of hard line unilateralism, disregarding the UN and international law. Washington has ignored, blocked, violated and even unsigned international treaties, including the Kyoto protocol, the comprehensive test ban treaty on nuclear disarmament, the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty, the Geneva Conventions, and the Rome treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.
This page provides a selection of articles on the globalization of Law Firms. In response to the globalization of business law and in order to serve giant, transnational companies, law firms are globalizing their practice. The biggest firms are merging across borders, creating mega practices with several thousand professionals in dozens of countries.
This page provides links and resources on the globalization of law.