In this 21st century, where all the lives, from an individual's data to big
corporates statistics are so interconnected and interdependent that no living
entity can survive in isolation. This is all due to Globalisation. 'William
Twining' refers to globalisation as those "processes which tend to create and
consolidate a unified world economy, a single ecological system, and complex
network of communications that covers the whole globe, even if it doesn't
penetrate to every part of it."1
This definition suggests that the whole world has been blended in such a manner
that it projects all the growth and development of different States as one unit.
Hence, today globalisation is not restricted to just the economy but diverse
itself by impacting all fields of work including the ideologies and ethics of
the society either positively or negatively. One such field is the law.
The Legal field is constantly changing. It can never be stagnant or monotonous
for a longer period of time as people's demand and need alter it. And especially
in this globalised world, the traditional ways of law have expanded to include
several modern and indispensable techniques.
According to Twining, the law is not subjected to a single State or a society
but has been geographically characterised into Global, International, Regional,
Transnational, Intercommunal, Territorial State, Sub-State, and Non-State.2 This
characterisation becomes essential for the legal field to differentiate between
the subjects and then take up cases. Because of this
specialisation in the field of law which was absent before, now, lawyers also
tend to specialise themselves in a particular legal field to come out as the
best in that.
Relatively speaking, little has been written, either by lawyers or non-lawyers,
specifically on the role of law in globalisation and the effect thereof upon our
conceptions of law. 3 However, William Twinning speaks about the trend of the
differential significance of globalization for specialized fields of expertise
that shall be discussed further.
- Established Transnational Fields:
The existing legal fields include Public International Law, Private
International Law, Environmental Law, Comparative Law, etc. These are
considered traditional legal fields as they have been in practice since time
memorial. For instance, on one hand, Public International Law sets out
normative rules and guidelines between two or more States for their
operation with each other and on the other, it also ensures sovereign
equality of all the States.
Therefore, this legal field is a classic example of the role of law in
globalisation. Contrastly, there is Private International Law that deals
with territorial transactions and jurisdictions. In common law
jurisdictions, it is sometimes known as a "conflict of laws."4 Typically,
one will be asking these questions when researching a private international
law problem: In which jurisdiction should the dispute be decided? Which law
should be applied?
How should a foreign judgment be enforced?5 Whereas Comparative law is
comparing different legalities of the same subject that is adopted by
different States. But is it ever possible actually to compare in any
meaningful way the different legal approaches to the solution of certain
problems given the difficulty of identifying similar legal issues in diverse
societies and cultures or of being certain that legal concepts are
translatable from one culture to another?6
William Twining believes that globalisation requires "a revival of general
jurisprudence and a rethinking of comparative law from a global perspective
as key elements in cosmopolitan legal studies."7
- New Transnational Fields:
This includes legal subjects like digital law, international taxation,
international criminal law, etc. Globalisation led to intercommunications
and interconnectivity all over the world. This called for the protection of
data present in the software. Now, when everything happens with one click,
it becomes necessary for preparing laws for overseeing digital engagements
and protecting vulnerable data from leaking out.
The other field is, International Taxation laws as in trading partnership it
is essential to tax the products before it enters one's jurisdiction. There
have been cases where corporates attempt to waive off tax which hinders the
interest of low-income States.
Therefore, it has become essential for this law to operate internationally.
law. The most obvious example is the law relating to the regulation of
international business dealing with trade and investment and international
- Global Legal Dimensions:
In particular, the cross-border activities by non-state actors, coupled with
the relocation of certain regulatory functions outside the traditional
domain of the territorial nation-state toward regional and multilateral
organisations, have cast doubt on exclusively territorial theories of legal
order and sovereignty.9 Therefore it has resulted in the creation of other
subjects on which law has started playing like Poverty, Migration, War,
Pandemics, Media, etc.
- Domestic subjects that are now Transnational:
Some subjects were restricted to domestic territory but with globalisation,
it has now also become an international subject. These fields include-
Intellectual Property Rights, Contract law, Labour rights, Adoption rights,
etc. If we see the Intellectual Property Rights law, it is necessary to
safeguard the personal work of individuals and institutions, therefore, it
provides various subjects under which one can secure their work, copyright,
trademark, patent, etc.
Contract Law is necessary as globalisation has extended the scope of doing
business. Therefore, drafting contracts become essential for any transaction
as it sets out the rights and liabilities of the parties involved and also
clearly specifies what action needs to be taken in which jurisdiction. For
private rights like Labour and Adoption, many international organisations
have been instituted for the welfare and for catering to such problems
globally. Although the decisions are not binding the persuasive nature of
their norms helps in drafting suitable guidelines for individual States.
- Religious and Customary Practices:
Globalisation has opened the doors of all the States in the world. This has
resulted in migration and the exchange of each other's cultures and ethics.
Therefore, this area of the legal field deals with these religious customary
practices "interface with municipal state laws."10
To conclude, we have seen above how globalisation aided in advancing the varied
specialisation in the legal field. In other words, globalisation has helped in
moving the legal field forward from traditional ways to modern ones. When using
G-words it is best to remember that nearly all processes of so-called
"globalisation" operate primarily at sub-global levels.11 This change in the
trend of legal was essential to keep up with the changing relations of the
States. Hence, in future too globalisation shall continue to impact the legal
field for peace and prosperity.
- Srikrishna Deva Rao, 'GLS Law Journals' (2021) 3 GLS Law Journal 4.
- William Twining, 'Globalisation and Legal Scholarship.' (2009) JSTOR
- Francis Snyder, 'Governing Economic Globalisation: Global Legal
Pluralism and European Law'(1999) 5 Eur.LJ. 331.
- Private International Law (UCLA, School of LAw Hugh and Hazel Darling
Law Library, 14 Nov 2022) accessed 1 March 2023.
- Pierre Legrand, 'How to Compare Now' (1996) 16 Legal Stud. 232.
- Twining (n2).
- John Braithwaite & Peter Drahos, 'Global Business Regulation' (2000)
Cambridge Univ. Press.
- Peter Thomas Muchlinski, 'The International Lawyer' (2003) 37 JSTOR 221.
- Twining (n2).
- Rao (n26).