Examples of Collaborative Legal Frameworks

Collaborative legal frameworks can include their own judicial systems and seek deeper economic and political integration.

Countries can create legally binding agreements by signing treaties which assign jurisdiction to an international court such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration.  They may have more ambitious aims though, looking for greater economic and political integration, and they can then set up their own courts.  The European Union is the prime example of the latter approach, and some other groups of countries are setting up collaborative legal frameworks in a similar way:

●  The East African Court of Justice was instituted by a treaty between Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania in 1999.

●  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was formed by signing a treaty in 1992.  Its objectives include “common political values, systems and institutions”, which would presumably include setting up its own courts at some point in the future.

●  The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formed by signing a treaty in 2008.  As described later (6.6.5), it never became fully established – although in October 2022 there was talk of reviving it.  Its intention to develop legal powers included the declaration that “the Member States commit to promoting and safeguarding the Rule of Law, the democratic institutions, Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of opinion and expression.  …Likewise, punishments are established in case of breach or threat of breach against the constitutional order”.

These examples are less fully developed than the EU, so the latter is described here in more detail in the following sub-sections.



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/5351a.htm.