IVF Battles: Legal Categories and Comparative Tales
Coupled with modern reproductive technologies, the ancient desire for parenthood has led to novel legal challenges. This essay discusses landmark cases addressing those challenges. At the outset, it distinguishes between two litigation paradigms in this area—termed “horizontal” and “vertical.” Horizontal controversies involve private parties who have different aspirations regarding a joint parenthood project (e.g., between two partners who began an IVF procedure and later disagree whether to complete the process). In contrast, vertical controversies concern clashes between an individual (or individuals) and the state, such as when the state or one of its authorities does not allow the individual to move forward with technologies that may lead to parenthood (e.g., new surrogacy procedures), though all affected individuals consent. The essay then focuses on horizontal litigation, and examines the ways in which various legal systems draw on, and sometimes adjust to the particular circumstances of the case, traditional concepts such as contract, reliance, property, and more to resolve such disputes.
Transnational technical standard-setting has grown in prominence in recent years. The World Trade Organization (WTO) requires the use of international standards but adopts a deferential approach towards international standards. However, practice shows that several international standards are promulgated through opaque and exclusionary processes. In line with this observation, in its recent US—Tuna II ruling, the Appellate Body adopted a more critical stance regarding international standards and the processes that lead to their adoption. Against this backdrop, this article focuses on an analysis of the properties and mechanics of international standard-setting processes within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), discussing procedural and substantive guarantees regarding transparency, openness, deliberation and participation. As the WTO becomes the de facto arbiter of the legitimacy of international standards, much needed institutional reform in international standard-setting is bound to occur. Arguably, this is bringing a paradigm shift in standardization practices and introduces “global standard-setting 2.0.” Such trend is in line with emerging demands for a more inclusive global legal order.
With proponents of deregulation ascendant, both domestically and around the world, private regulation appears to be an attractive solution to a seemingly intractable problem—assuming it is or can be effective. This Article adds an important corrective to standard accounts of private legal regulation and its effectiveness.
Existing scholarship generally looks to the formal contract terms as the key to understanding private regulation and to evaluating its impact. This practice needs to be rethought. The relationship between contracting parties, as well as the regulatory authority that one party exerts over the other, can be quite different than the relationship described by the formal contract terms. This Article illustrates the problem with the scholarly assumption that formal contract language reliably describes the private regulatory relationships they establish. It does so through an in-depth analysis of a form of private contracting with great regulatory potential: the loan guarantees and associated political risk insurance policies underwritten by the World Bank.
Such policies are purchased by corporations to mitigate the risks associated with doing business in under-regulated jurisdictions. Because, on their face, the terms of these policies require socially responsible corporate behavior, they appear to be a promising form of private regulation, succeeding in imposing significant obligations on corporations that traditional public regulation has failed to mandate. But these formal terms reveal little about the true nature of the private regulatory relationships they create. Even though the policy terms themselves are unlikely ever to be formally enforced, the policyholders often have significant incentives to go above and beyond the contract requirements if requested to do so by the underwriter. But whether they are in fact being asked to do so, and whether they are in fact complying if they are being asked, is unclear.
The World Bank provides considerable transparency surrounding the terms of its policies and the process for obtaining them. However, little information is available regarding its post-contracting interactions with policyholder corporations. Providing data about these interactions could be done relatively easily and without infringing upon the confidentiality interests that it, and its policyholders, may have. To the extent that entities like the World Bank are serious about their corporate social responsibility policies, it is imperative that information about the actual contracting relationship—and not just the formal contract terms—be made available.
The Apple-Ireland Tax Case: Three Stories on Sovereign Power
Theodore F. DiSalvo