chapter  17
Professions without borders: global ethics and the international rule of law
Pages 19

Introduction Those who believe that good governance should start at home and extend abroad will easily agree, but may be surprised at the source of the quote and be more optimistic about its achievement. In this chapter, I will argue that the emergence of strong sovereign states after the Treaty of Westphalia turned two of the most cosmopolitan professions, the law and the military, into the least cosmopolitan. Sovereign states determined the content of the law within their borders – including what elements of ecclesiastical law, law merchant and international law applied. Similarly, states sought to ensure that all military force was at their disposal in national armies. The erosion of sovereignty in a post-Westphalian world may significantly reverse this process. The erosion of sovereignty is likely to have profound consequences for the legal profession and the ethics of how, and for what ends, it is practiced. As we shall see, lawyers have played a major role in the civilization of sovereign states through the articulation and institutionalization of key governance values – starting with the rule of law. An increasingly global profession must take on similar tasks – and may find unexpected allies within the profession of arms. This chapter applies these ideas to the rule of law, reviewing the concept of an international rule of law and its relationship to domestic conceptions and outline the task of building the international rule of law and the role that lawyers and soldiers can and should play in it.2