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THE DIFFERENCES in world laws are a "barrier to justice" and practitioners should work towards unifying legislation across the globe, Bar chair Peter Goldsmith QC says.
Goldsmith last week called for the establishment of an international standing committee to monitor, co-ordinate and promote legal unification and said lawyers should set up a "legal superhighway" to provide immediate access to multi-juris- dictional advice.
His proposals, which were well-received by delegates at the 39th meeting of the Union Internationale des Advocats, came as lawyers from both civil and common law countries warned of the need to face up to the increasing "globalisation" of law.
"Legal problems do not recognise national boundaries. We must recognise that differences in laws are a barrier to justice," said Goldsmith. "The differences in juridical approach make us believe there is likely to be a different result and so we are uncertain and cannot advise our clients.
"The answer must lie in greater harmonisation of our national laws."
Goldsmith said the standing committee should be set up under the auspices of an international organisation to co-ordinate the "haphazard" developments currently taking place in the area of international law.
But he was adamant that the project should not be left to the control of governments.
"I'm afraid I don't believe we can trust this initiative to governments alone," Goldsmith said. "Their vision, once elected, is not always what we would like to see or what we genuinely believe is in the interests of people overall. Lawyers need to step in to represent the interests of the litigants.
"It's up to us as lawyers to find solutions for these problems."