Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 73: Transnational law, evolving*

Peer Zumbansen


Writing today about Transnational Law is a different task from what it was only a few years ago (Zumbansen, 2006). Arguably, that could be said about writing on any other aspect of law, just as it applies to the practice and teaching of law, which are constantly changing: Holmes’ remark about how the ‘remoter and more general aspects of the law ... are those which give it universal interest’, and that ‘[i]t is through them that you not only become a great master in your calling, but connect your subject with the universe and catch an echo of the infinite, a glimpse of its unfathomable process, a hint of the universal’ (Holmes, 1897, 478), is as much to the point today as at the time of writing. This chapter is based on the assumption that, similarly to the remarkable way in which Holmes not only crafted his conception of law and legal thought in communication with and response to the intellectual developments of his time, but also carved out the challenges for law in the future (Posner, 1997), transnational law (TL) must be seen in the context of a vibrant interdisciplinary discourse about the status and role of law in an increasingly inchoate, globe-spanning web of regulatory regimes, actors, norms and processes. On the one hand, TL emerges as a series of contemplations about the form of legal regulation with regard to border-crossing transactions and fact patterns transgressing jurisdictional boundaries that involve a mixture of public and private actors and norms.

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