Reconsidering global law
Our sense of global law as a contemporary trend that is as insistent as it is unresolved brings us, finally, to the question of how we might consider its future development.
We should begin, however, by sounding a note of caution. Perhaps there is simply nothing more we can say, and, in fact, nothing further to be said about the intimations of global law. In the opening chapter the primary aim of our inquiry was stated to be diagnostic rather than prescriptive. Our priority was to specify the nature and forms of global law and to assess its condition, as well as its preconditions. We set out, in particular, to examine the various species of global law organised under the two general convergence-promoting and divergence-accommodating conceptions, to consider why and how they have emerged, and to investigate how they relate to one another. Yet nothing we have said from this analytical and investigative standpoint has sought to take sides between the two conceptions, and the various species arranged under the two conceptions, or to argue that some should be ranked higher than others in order of preference or significance. And, arguably, nothing we might say could make a difference, or even should seek to make any difference, to the approaches taken.
The promoters of convergence, armed with a measure of general cosmopolitan vision and optimism, will continue to make formal, structural and abstract-normative arguments in favour of a certain type of global law, and will do so with or without the help of one of law's grand historical discourses, such as constitutional law or international law. The accommodators of divergence, preoccupied with the problems rather than the opportunities of devising global legal forms in the face of such an array of sharply differentiated and often contending transnational legal regimes, each with its own priorities and domain interests, will display the more selective commitment of a functionally specific approach or a hybrid approach, or the more modestly reconciliatory ambition of the laterally co-ordinate approach, again with or without the help of one of the grand historical discourses.