Signposting the global legal environment of the future

Signposting the global legal environment of the future 25 July 2012

After RIO+20 many wondered where the new treaties to sign were. The fact that the final document of this summit was in no measure to be compared to the groundbreaking treaties of twenty years ago let almost everyone to conclude that RIO+20 was a failure. But does it make sense to compare the realities of 2012 with those of 1992?

The underlying claim of the newly published Law Scenarios to 2030 is that when looking at law we should take possible future trends as the starting point for making statements about the rule of law, not the past. While a treaty might not be the foundation to build a sustainable future on, the public-private partnerships between businesses and authorities – of which the representatives extensively met in the periphery of RIO+20 – might have a chance to become one.

The Law Scenarios to 2030 have been written based on an extensive consultation process involving over 200 experts through workshops, interviews and as authors of ‘think pieces'.

By sketching four possible futures based on two trends (will the internationalisation of rules and institutions continue or not and will private governance mechanisms and private legal regimes further expand or not) the Law Scenarios to 2030 are designed to make justice challenges more specific, more explicit and place them in a more systemic context. They can be used to help to come to coherent justice strategies, tied to specific needs, and making those strategies implementable.

The next step for HiiL is to develop the indicators for monitoring which of the four scenarios is unfolding. What do the struggles in trying to get Europe out of the financial crisis tell us about who is in charge of making and enforcing rules? What does the success of the Resolution Center say about how conflicts will be resolved in the future?