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This Special Issue highlights the most recent socio-legal research related to the mitigation, if not the elimination, of the threat of anthropogenic disasters in Asia and beyond. The drafts of these papers were originally presented at the Presidential Session on “The Anthropocene and the Law in Asia” at the Fourth Asian Law and Society Association (ALSA) Conference held in the vibrant city of Osaka, Japan in December 2019. The timing of this particular session, the first of its kind to be held at an ALSA Conference, turned out to be somewhat prophetic, in that two anthropogenic catastrophes—the historic zoonotic pandemic and the cataclysmic wild bushfires—had just begun to strike in December in Wuhan, China and in New South Wales, Australia, respectively. The novel coronavirus pandemic would kill more than 1 million people in the following months, after infecting more than 40 million across the globe. The Australian wild bushfires killed and displaced more than 3 billion animals, becoming the worst wildfire ever recorded in the world. Since that last ALSA Conference in December 2019, multiple anthropogenic disasters have hit various regions in Asia and across the world. The papers in this Special Issue examine various impacts of anthropogenic disasters and propose innovative socio-legal strategies to mitigate them. Included are arguments for the proposal of new legal education curricula and innovative pedagogy on environmental law and the exploration of an international multidisciplinary teaching framework in reconsidering and reshaping human-centric legal education. Also proposed is the development of a robust Earth Jurisprudence based on the adoption of the Rights of Nature principles, while moving away from the Euro-American exploitive view of nature as commodified properties. Additionally proposed is the establishment of a land-based, topological jurisprudence that incorporates the nuanced narratives of indigenous voices in dealing with the threat of human-induced ecological and environmental disasters in the years ahead.
The world can no longer deny that the planet is on the verge of an Anthropocene catastrophe. As scientists from different fields and from around the globe are discussing the causes, impacts, challenges, and solutions to the arrival of this human-induced new geological time, the field of law cannot remain behind. Rights of Nature (RoN), granting legal personhood to nature and its elements such as rivers, is an emerging transnational legal framework fast gaining international traction among Euro-American legal scholars as a new tool to combat environmental destruction. Grounded in reflections derived from long-term collaborative ethnographic work among indigenous communities, this article aims to critically and empirically unpack several interrelated concerns and blind spots at this moment of the RoN snowballing effect around the globe related to claims that this new legal proposal is rooted in indigenous lifestyles and views about nature/the environment.
The scale and urgency of the consequences of the Anthropocene for human civilization call for comprehensive responses from human societies. As leaders in law, law schools have a role in helping their respective societies respond to the impacts of the Anthropocene. The present analysis discusses potential approaches to help law schools in Asia integrate the Anthropocene into their legal education curricula. Drawing upon existing legal education literature regarding issues of content, teaching tools, curriculum placement, and subject status as a law topic, the analysis explores the potential issues facing law schools in the adoption of the Anthropocene as a component of learning. The analysis then addresses the particular contextual sociocultural, economic, and political circumstances likely to challenge the integration of the Anthropocene into Asian law schools. The conclusion finishes with directions for future research.
It will be familiar to many that the environmental emergency of our times generates a number of difficulties for our thinking of law and society. It is argued in this essay that the languages of place-making make some sense of these predicaments. The essay proceeds through the close reading of an Extinction Rebellion protest and two landmark judgments. The protests, and their policing, are keyed to specific places and their atmospheres. A first judgment concerns the destruction of habitat and the extinction of native wildlife species; a second concerns the impact of coal mining on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. A sense of place emerges with the aesthetic reason of judgment. The emblems and topics of legal speech, it is argued, give form and technique to the writing of place. A renewed jurisprudence of topography makes legible the meeting places of law and the environmental emergency.
This article investigates the Bangladeshi garment industry that supplies ready-made garments for global brands and the corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) of the brands/multinational corporations (MNCs) towards their supply chains. Although outsourcing and global trade have boosted the living standards of many people in the Bangladeshi garment industry, there are some significant concerns regarding the working conditions and treatment of workers in these supply chains. This, in turn, cannot, and should not, be detached from the legal relationship between the Bangladeshi supply chains and the MNCs contracting with them. This article examines the impact of COVID-19, which has exposed the fragility and the pre-existing flaws in the relationship between the MNCs and their suppliers more clearly than at any other time in history. There is a huge governance gap between MNCs and supply chains that needs to be addressed urgently. This article assesses the legality of the cancellation of orders by the brands that invoked the force majeure clause. In doing so, this paper briefly deals with the responses of three American retail companies, namely Sears, Kohl’s, and the Arcadia Group, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It illustrates that the power asymmetry between the MNCs and their suppliers has put the supply chains in an unreasonably disadvantageous position, creating unfair and even unconscionable conduct by several MNCs. This article also looks at solutions for the existing problems, focusing, inter alia, on non-financial reporting requirements in the US and the EU to implement CSR in supply chains. However, disappointingly, the authors had to conclude that MNCs typically have the propensity to disregard CSR, whenever it is convenient for them and use CSR for mere “greenwashing” purposes for their strategic benefit only. It is a problem that requires constant attention and continuing research to find long-term solutions. The article employs doctrinal methodology and, by conducting a meta-analysis of literature and case-studies, it provides a comprehensive understanding of how the industry works.
This paper analyses how the legal consciousness of Chinese enterprise managers has transformed in the face of drastic changes brought along by major events in socialist China. During the past 70 years, there have been in place a series of radical and pervasive changes in the legal framework constituted by a communist system frequented by mass political campaigns, trailed by a massive liberalized move towards a market economy. By building upon the thesis of legal-consciousness narratives suggested by Ewick and Silbey, this paper discusses how Chinese managers have evolved through various states of “With the Law,” “Against the Law,” and “Under the Law” legal consciousness. It is suggested that, in the coming era of globalization under socialist China, Chinese enterprise managers may start to embrace a new narrative of legal consciousness—“In the Law”—by participating more actively in the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.
When Japan signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the government enacted a new act to deal with international parental child abduction according to the Convention in the same year. The Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs were immediately in charge of making a draft Bill. Once the government and respective ministries had instantly set up the legal and administrative procedure for dealing with international family issue under the Convention, as some studies argue, simultaneous issues of the family in separation in Japan were underdeveloped. Employing a method of content analysis of the record of policy debates by authorities, observing both diplomatic and domestic frames referred in the debate in contrast, this paper highlights this law-making process delivered and elucidated continuous consecutive inquiries about radical questions of the current Japanese family law regarding the wellbeing of the changing families and their children in contemporary Japan.