chapter  1
54 Pages

Setting the scene

Acoustically, ‘globalisation’ is an unattractive word. For some, the images it tends to conjure up may not be much better. In economic terms many would associate it with multi-nationals. Depending on underlying political beliefs, that might in turn prompt thoughts of contemporary economic imperialism, while to others these terms might even bring to mind the kind of riots one reads about whenever the leaders of the G8 countries meet. Culturally, the word may also imply a disappearance of national differences in tastes, fashions, and even attitudes towards matters as varied as aesthetic and moral values. Again, some may regret this diminution of cultural diversity, while others may, in specific areas at least, see advantages in this convergence. Lawyers, too, are not immune from the changes this phenomenon is bringing in its wake, though being (invariably) less imaginative than artists and less bold than businessmen, one might be tempted to argue that they have reacted to, rather than helped shape it. Only a few of them have thought of using the law as an instrument for social change; and that certainly has its problems, especially if it means using judges to effect these changes.