Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

A Quest for a Model: The Globalization of English Legal Language

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

A Quest for a Model: The Globalization of English Legal Language

Article excerpt


Our study describes the rules of commercial language for a better understanding of the effect of globalization on law and legal language. The influence of English language on the global market made English become the lingua franca in commercial trade exchanges. We will also discuss in the present article the use of Anglicisms in international transactions and the cultural implications that arise from this aspect. Thus, we will approach the specificity of legal language in International commercial law, taking into account the fact that it was fairly protected during the communist regime.

Keywords: globalization, legal language, English language, Romanian language, lingua franca

1. Introduction

By means of globalization economic, social, technological and political activities are becoming increasingly international. According to Joseph Stiglitz, the concept of globalization is very simple:

The decrease of communication costs, transportation costs, and artificial barriers to goods and factors of production has led to a closer integration of the economies of the world. Globalization implies mobility not only of goods and services but also of capital and knowledge - and to a lesser extent of people. Globalization entails not only the integration of markets but also the emergence of global civil society.

Globalization can be defined as many things, as a process or as a product of our knowledge society. Some authors consider globalisation the pillar of recent reform of the legal systems around the world1. This is an interesting attempt at explaining how mobility and dynamics, as basic features of globalization, can generate the need for uniformity, thus becoming the source of inspiration for legislators and everyday practicians. One important phenomenon which facilitated globalization is represented by the vertiginous advances and discoveries in technology and, especially, in information technology, to which the increasingly international character of many economic and social issues added.

Globalization is also referred to as: the process of increasing interconnectedness between societies such that events in one part of the world more and more have effects on peoples and societies far away.2 During the last decades, the international law has significantly enlarged its scope especially due to the extraordinary proliferation of international institutions whose purpose is to implement the new law in a manner broadly consistent with statehood and sovereignty. In this regard, Rosalyn Higgins has remarked that: globalization represents the reality that we live in; it is a time when the walls of sovereignty are no protection against movements of capital, labor, information and ideas. The walls of sovereignty have been crumbling in the face of many different developments, such as the advances in technology and communications, which have made possible an unprecedented degree of financial and economic interdependence and the potential for economic growth.3

2. International commercial law and English language

International commerce has existed since old times, the international circulation of currency dating back to Roman times. In the twentieth century, the advocates of free trade, who saw the opening of world trade as an avenue to greater prosperity, became influential (1948 - the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) securing important reductions in customs duties; 1994 - GATT was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO); during the operation of GATT, regional agreements and trade blocs were successful in dismantling trade barriers between participating nations4.

The vast expansion which has occurred in cross-border trade and finance has seen the emergence of 'the global economy' or 'the global market', an economy in which territorial borders are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Legal language plays a vital part in the construction, interpretation, analysis, negotiation and enforcement of laws and justice and attempts are made in order to create and conserve a so-called model world of rights, obligations, permissions and prohibitions. …

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