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Globalisation For Specialized Legal Fields By William Twinning

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.
  1. 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
  2. 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 financial transactions.8
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. Srikrishna Deva Rao, 'GLS Law Journals' (2021) 3 GLS Law Journal 4.
  2. William Twining, 'Globalisation and Legal Scholarship.' (2009) JSTOR 2011.
  3. Francis Snyder, 'Governing Economic Globalisation: Global Legal Pluralism and European Law'(1999) 5 Eur.LJ. 331.
  4. Private International Law (UCLA, School of LAw Hugh and Hazel Darling Law Library, 14 Nov 2022) accessed 1 March 2023.
  5. Ibid
  6. Pierre Legrand, 'How to Compare Now' (1996) 16 Legal Stud. 232.
  7. Twining (n2).
  8. John Braithwaite & Peter Drahos, 'Global Business Regulation' (2000) Cambridge Univ. Press.
  9. Peter Thomas Muchlinski, 'The International Lawyer' (2003) 37 JSTOR 221.
  10. Twining (n2).
  11. Rao (n26).

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