There is a growing clamour - particularly from the main beneficiaries of globalization - that rules need to be established to govern the international economy, with a specific focus on questions such as copyright violations, trade sanctions and protections for foreign investment. Those who perceive they are disadvantaged by globalization demand other legal protections in relation to employment, cultural traditions and the environment.
While there is little doubt that globalization is a major contributor to changes in the definition, boundaries and nature of law, the question remains as to how much law and regulation from different sources are compatible with the assumptions of economic globalization. From a market perspective, the point at which state law and regulation move from 'legitimate' non-economic interests into the 'illegitimate' restriction of trade and investment will materialize much sooner than it will from other perspectives. These theoretical questions arise in concrete form for the decisions of international economic institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This thoughtful work focuses on the different forms of law that create the legal infrastructure of economic globalization and on how they interact with one another. It also explains how law is used both to maintain and oppose aspects of globalization. In addition, it evaluates the governance of the global political economy in terms of the standards of the Rule of Law.
Laurence Boulle is Director of the Mandela Institute and Issy Wolfson Professor of Law in the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Professor of Law at Bond University, Queensland, Australia. He has published extensively in constitutional law, mediation and ADR, and international economic law. He is co-editor (with Ross Bucklely and Vai Io Lo) of Challenges to Multilateral Trade - The Impact of Bilateral, Preferential and Regional Agreements (Kluwer Law International, 2008).