Understanding the Global Regulatory Process
Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Francesca Bignami and David Zaring
Chapter 16: Transplanting law in a globalized world: private transnational regulation and the legal transplant paradigm
The legal transplant and diffusion literature has long been interested in how legal rules and institutions travel from one legal system to another and the transformations they undergo on the journey: the uptake of Roman law by various countries in medieval Europe (Watson, 1974; Wieacker, 1995), the imposition of European law and legal systems on the colonies (Watson, 1974; Beck and Levine, 2005; Larmour, 2005), the post-WWII adoption of western legal rules and institutions by non-western states (…rücü, 1999), the large-scale borrowing of legal reforms by former socialist countries in the late 1980s and 1990s (Ajani, 1995; Pistor, 2000), and the implementation of international and supranational law in various national jurisdictions (Merry, 2006; Linos, 2007; Lefranc, 2010; Seroussi, 2010) are just a few of the itineraries commonly studied. While this literature highlights the fact that even in the golden era of the nation state law has always been borrowed from elsewhere, it has focused on a narrow range of objects, actors, and outcomes that have limited its ability to address how rules and norms traverse a globalized world. Today, legal rules travel the globe not only (and perhaps not even predominantly) through governmental channels, but rather via a complex web of private actors. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and activists in transnational advocacy networks promote norms and transmit rules from one place to another (Keck and Sikkink, 1998; Merry, 2006).
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