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In Pursuit of the Global within: A Structure for the Global Law Project

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This short essay takes as its point of departure the truism that ‘the global’ is omnipresent. ‘Intimations of the global’, to borrow from Neil Walker, are therefore as likely to be uncovered by studying domestic legal systems most familiar to us, as they are by pointing our lens at what is alien. If the global is understood in this way, i.e. as referring to the basic building blocks common to all legal systems, then two settings appear to offer prima facie fertile ground for unraveling the global. First, if laws employ open terminology or otherwise afford considerable discretion (e.g. as in the case of ‘procedural autonomy’), it may be premised that when in such cases it is (empirically) established that in reality certain rules act to further constrain such freedom, those rules could be of a ‘global’ character. Obversely, when legal rules claim an absolute status, in the sense that they tolerate not exception (as in the case of the supremacy of EU law), factual departures from that absolute rule again may be regarded as intimations of the global.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of EU Law, Tilburg Law School; Chair, Editorial Committee, Tilburg Global Law book series, Email:, URL:


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