Law, Society, and Economy: Centenary Essays for the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1895-1995

By Richard Rawlings | Go to book overview

One point at which the European Court of Justice should undoubtedly be discouraged from 'activism' is over the direct enforcement of international obligations in such a context. There is real virtue in requiring that those obligations pass into Community law only after the law-making institutions of the Community itself have settled in detail how this should occur and, in particular, how far implementation should devolve to national law-makers in the Member States.


CONCLUSION

The Community position is in the end but a consequential aspect of this and other developing international legal orders. The root issue to be faced is whether we are at all wise to put the settlement of world trade law, let alone (say) world policing or world drug control, in the hands of remote arbitral tribunals whose conclusions can be challenged by political processes in which the strong alone are likely to keep striving. The choice is in one sense more extreme than that over the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights, for there the question is whether the Convention should, in some entrenched or unentrenched form, become part of municipal law, to be interpreted by judges who can know the competing claims within our society and in some reasonably attached way calculate the consequences of their decisions.

The World Trade Organisation and its jurisdiction is with us. It will need most careful monitoring, for its own sake and as a precedent. An international legal order of its essential type could be the true novelty of the coming century, the legal eventuality which Dicey a century ago would have found least predictable. For the participant States it will present conundrums in securing the acceptance of distant decision-making within their polities.

A major concern must therefore to be secure people of outstanding ability, knowledge and experience to act as arbitrators in the settlement process. Above all, as Professor Teubner's essay urges,43 they must be capable of listening to, and judging between, arguments posed within varying frames of reference. They must be neither narrow calculators of rational efficiency nor weary pragmatists of international negotiation. It will be obvious that legal education has before it greater challenges than ever as it strives to fit each coming generation for such tasks. The LSE will undoubtedly play an important role in showing how the answers should be provided; for, as many of the essays in this collection show, it has done so in the past with verve and effect.

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43
See Chapter 7.

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