“BRICS LAW”: AN OXYMORON , OR FROM COO PERATION , VIA CON SOLIDATION , TO CODIFICATION?
In the global arena, the cooperation between the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – covers around 42% of the world’s population and some of the world’s most dynamic emerging economies. Initially, the BRICS cooperation was suggested as an idea, and it was later welcomed as a new addition to the global governance debate about the future. The BRICS countries have already held ten consecutive summits of heads of state plus a large number of meetings at the ministerial level. The cooperation describes itself as a “cooperation and dialogue” platform, but it has nonetheless signed a number of binding treaties and, notably, established the New Development Bank (NDB) as a permanent institution headquartered in Shanghai (China).
The cooperation has also met with resistance, criticism and problems caused by the overall complexity of global affairs in a rapidly changing world. The diversity and remote locations of the BRICS countries have also been thought of as an obstacle to their successful cooperation and their ability to play an active part in global governance in the twentyfirst century. The main challenge thus lies in their ability to overcome their differences and to make a difference in designing the future global political and economic world order. Against the backdrop of the global governance debate, the present paper therefore asks whether the BRICS cooperation constitutes a novel model of regionalism with multilateral aspirations, and what role law and, notably, the “rule of law” can play in this important task. The paper includes a discussion of the extent to which the BRICS cooperation needs to be upgraded in legal and institutional terms, and possibly to proceed from cooperation via consolidation to the codification of its most important sources of global law.