As They Globalise, Asia’s Legal Systems must be Freed from Colonial Roots

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Globalisation is a recent phenomenon in the sweep of history, largely concerned with growth, trade and commerce, as well as with elements of sustainability. It is also a “legal regime” required by international treaties signed by sovereign nation states. Hence, it is treated as a contemporary concept with futur¬istic implications.
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Analysing this premise from a different point of view, the fundamental construct itself may be questioned. It can be argued that the “first wave” of globalisation is that of the con¬struct of the law itself and its working in Asian countries. It is a construct which was exported as part of colonial design and implemented in various subject societies. Its fundamentals were taken from Roman and Greek philoso¬phers, developed by jurists of the Western pow¬ers and inserted into the body politic of various Asian societies. It also suppressed indigenous jurisprudence in the name of civilising “uncivi¬lised” societies.

Professor Ranbir Singh is Vice-Chancellor of the National Law University in New Delhi and President of the Association of Indian Universi-ties (AIU).

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