Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education
Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem
Chapter 15: The New York Convention as a Driving Force
Clyde Croft SC* INTRODUCTION We tend to think that we are living in a unique period of internationalisation or globalisation.1 It is true that there has never before been such accessibility to international air travel and communications, but this may be deceptive. In many respects we are, at least from a legal perspective, only now moving again to a period of internationalism. This has declined during the twentieth century for a variety of historical reasons, the exploration of which time does not permit. Nevertheless, an important factor seems to have been the rise of the nation state at the expense of former world empires or other transnational organisations. Global trading empires, such as the British Empire, provided coherent and co-ordinated legal systems throughout the world, together with some consistent legislative models, enforceability of judgments and court process available between different parts of the Empire and, of course, appeals to the one court, the Privy Council.2 Interestingly, it seems that as the commercial dominance and power of England rose throughout the nineteenth century, the readiness of the common law to accept settled rules of international law declined. So, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, ‘. . . if English law was silent, it was the opinion of both Lord Mansfield and Blackstone that a settled rule of international law must be considered to be part of English law, and enforced as such’.3 However, by the latter part of the nineteenth century a threshold question had been interposed – namely ‘whether the particular rule...
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