Book ReviewRecension comparative

Rafael Domingo, The New Global Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)[Notice]

  • Pedro J. Martínez-Fraga

…plus d’informations

  • Pedro J. Martínez-Fraga
    BA from St John’s College in Annapolis (Highest Honours) in 1984
    JD from Columbia University School of Law (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar) in 1987
    Licentiate (JD equivalent), Magister, and DEA degrees from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid
    Coordinator of International Dispute Resolution for Latin America and the state of Florida for the law firm of DLA Piper
    Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law
    Visiting Professor at the University of Navarra School of Law in Pamplona, Spain
    Honorary Professor of Law of the Universidad de San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima, Peru

Citation: (2011) 56:3 McGill LJ 767

Référence: (2011) 56 : 3 RD McGill 767

In his 2010 work entitled The New Global Law, Professor Rafael Domingo asserts that international law, the science concerned with regulating and organizing the legal relationships among sovereign states, cannot serve to address the challenges of an integrated global community. The argument proposes that “classical” international law, true to its etymology suggesting a legal construct between and among nations, is inadequate for addressing transnational needs such as issues that are stateless in nature, since they affect humanity as a whole. Climate control, disease, abuse of power, infant mortality, vertical and horizontal nuclear proliferation, and corruption, to reference but a handful, are problems endemic to humanity and therefore transcultural and non-territorial. Professor Domingo argues that such challenges compel the creation and implementation of a global science of law that will serve as the law of humanity rather than the law of states. Professor Domingo has identified transnational problems that cannot be addressed or redressed by the law of nations, but instead only pursuant to the application of a new global law or legal order, as a point of departure. In doing so, Professor Domingo cannot avoid confronting the doctrinal challenge of crafting a new normative foundation different and distinct from the law of nations, and the law among and between nations, while simultaneously ensuring that the traditional normative rubric of these systems remains preserved and harmonized with the “new global law”. The task that Professor Domingo has endeavoured to undertake is daunting indeed. A global law that functions in pari materia with municipal and international law also requires an equally universal and harmonizing normative rubric. The author believes to have tapped into this paradigm by focusing on the element of “human dignity” common to every individual and therefore to all global citizens. A law of humanity must find a normative foundation in what is most intrinsically human, which in the author’s view appears to be the condition of dignity. However, even within the narrow confines and limitations of The New Global Law, greater sustained analysis is required concerning the profoundly transcultural definition of “dignity” versus collective social virtues that do not and cannot aspire to rest within the concept of human individuality. Professor Domingo has certainly opened the door for doctrinal development of the normative premises of the bold new “global law”, but he hardly crosses his own threshold from even the most modest analytical perspective. The jurisprudence and conceptual workings of a natural law resurgence merit more than just surface reference. Despite the ostensibly logical effect of this resurgence, Professor Domingo’s grounding of the new global law may require another book or series of books. In the sciences, as well as philosophy, and history, the world often misunderstands its most pressing and important issues, while neglecting others entirely. Indeed, Wilfred Jenks identified two concerns that have been misunderstood and altogether neglected: Writing along similar but distinct conceptual and phenomenological lines, Philip Jessup observed the following: These propositions have also been the victims of both misunderstanding and neglect. Professor Rafael Domingo, however, has blessed us with a work that—although shrouded in a mantel of modesty and labelled a mere “point of departure”—places in sharp relief the correct understanding and urgent sense of attention that must be accorded to the origin of a systematic response to the issues that Professors Jenks and Jessup have so aptly and concisely identified. Secure in the conviction that neither a non-political nor a geopolitical revolution has reconfigured and transformed all societies, Professor Domingo boldly asserts that when confronted with the reality of globalization giving rise to an international society, “Perhaps this is the …

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