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This work deals with legal pluralism in an emerging world society. It central thesis is that globalization of law tends to create a decentred law-making process which occurs in multiple sectors of civil society, independently of nation states.
Technical standardization, professional rule production, human rights, intra-organizational regulation in multinational enterprises, contracting, arbitration and other institutions of lex mercatoria are forms of rule by private governments, claiming world-wide validity independently of the law of the nation states. They have come into existence not by formal acts of nation states but by strange paradoxical acts of self-validation.
It is the question of law or non-law, and according to the traditional doctrine of legal sources, lex mercatoria and other forms of legal pluralism are non-law. They may be professional norms, social rules, customs, usages, contractual obligations, agreements, but they are not law, they need recognition from the official legal order. However, this text argues that globalization breaks this frame and creates a new law that has no legislation, no political constitution, no politically ordered hierarchy.
The replacement of frames from hierarchy to heterarchy, allows for the recognition of other types of social rule production as law production, but only under the conditions that they are produced in the periphery of the legal system in close contact with external social processes of rule-formation. It argues that many forms of rule-making by ""private governments"" on a global scale which in reality have a highly ""public"" character.