Judicial Lawmaking and the Influence of Comparative Law
Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series
Edited by John O. Haley and Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 1.2: Navigating law’s “Asian Century”
The challenge of “the Asian Century” for a law school such as the University of Washington (UW) is how to pursue its public service mission, “Leadership for the Global Common Good,” while also achieving more pragmatic institutional aims, in an increasingly complex world. International and comparative law scholars of 50 years ago imagined a simpler legal geography: sovereign domestic legal systems at different stages of development, overlaid with a light blanket of international law.Those were largely fictional taxonomies of how legal systems are constituted, but they remain remarkably robust. In this century, the legal world looks more kaleidoscopic. The imperatives of legal education are framed by individuals, corporations, governments or NGOs, and also by whether the activity is taking place in the Pacific Northwest, or more widely on national or international stages. What remains in focus, however, is that this century’s world population centers and engines for economic growth are located in “Asia,” however we define it. So the question is: how do legal educational institutions such as UW navigate law’s Asian century? Where can a law school do well, by doing good? What principles would we use to make those choices? As a publically located and increasingly privately funded law school, UW earns the right to make strategic choices through a “social license” – that is, the legitimacy that different kinds of stakeholders confer on the enterprise.
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