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COMPARATIVE LAW Slideshow #1. Course 522 LLM KiLAW Spring 2013 Dr Myra Williamson. Overview of this slideshow. Housekeeping A ttendance, location, website, Twitter, etc Textbooks and readings T eaching and learning Course outline D istribute & discuss

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    comparative law slideshow 1

    COMPARATIVE LAWSlideshow #1

    Course 522


    KiLAW Spring 2013

    Dr Myra Williamson

    overview of this slideshow
    Overview of this slideshow
    • Housekeeping
      • Attendance, location, website, Twitter, etc
      • Textbooks and readings
    • Teaching and learning
    • Course outline
      • Distribute & discuss
    • Introduction to Comparative Law
    • Website:
    • Twitter: @MyraWilliamson
    • Location: change?
    • Textbooks and readings
      • Bussani and Matei, The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law
      • Materials posted on my website
      • Texts mentioned in the course outline
    teaching and learning
    Teaching and Learning

    Key terms and ideas:

    • Lecture v seminar style
    • Learning outcomes
    • Constructive alignment
    • Student-centered leaning
    • The role of the lecturer:
      • “sage on the stage” v “guide on the side”
    • The role of the student:
      • active learners, life-long learners
    course outline
    Course outline
    • Please make sure that you download/print/read the course outline
    • It contains important information including:
      • Course description
      • Learning outcomes
      • Assessment
      • Lecture schedule
    introduction to comparative law
    Introduction to Comparative Law
    • What is it?
    • It means different things to different people
    • The essence is comparison between two or more legal systems
    • Is it merely a method or is it a discipline or field of knowledge in its own right?
    • It is a method of inquiry – comparison – not a body of law in itself (eg compare “comparative law” with, say, “contract law”)
    • Mainstream view:

    “the discipline consists of a comparison of the world’s legal systems or particular elements thereof in pursuit of a variety of academic and practical objectives”

      • Source: Zweigert and Kotz, Introduction to Comparative Law, cited in Bussani and Matei at 21-22
    early origins
    Early Origins
    • Ancient Greece:
      • Plato (429-348 BCE) discussed the rules of several Greek and other city-states in the Laws
      • Aristotle (384-322 BCE) examined many legal structure in his Politics
      • Sometimes they are referred to as the ‘fathers’ of comparative law and politics (see picture on next slide – this comes from UCL)

    Aristotle and Plato, sometimes called the ‘fathers’ of comparative law and politics

    “The School of Athens” by Raphael

    Image taken from University College London, Institute of Global Law, logo

    origins continued
    Origins continued…
    • Rome: jurists had a practical interest in foreign laws
    • The Romans created a special office (praetor peregrinus) in 242 BCE who supervised jurisdiction over disputes involving non-Romans
    • There was no real philosophical interest in studying foreign laws – it was a practical matter – because Romans believed in the superiority of Roman law over foreign law
    origins modern history
    Origins – modern history
    • Comparative legal method dates back to around the 16th century
    • Russian scholars in the 16th century were engaged in comparative historical studies
    • Montesquieu (1689-1755) used comparative law to back-up his theories about natural law principles
    • Montesquieu’s most famous work on comparative law was De l’esprit des lois(1748)
    • He wrote about the need to ensure that the laws of each nation be adapted in a manner to suit the people for whom they were framed (see extracts)
    origins 19 th century
    Origins – 19th century
    • Important comparativists of more recent times include:
    • Sir Henry Maine (UK) (1822-1888) – looked at the parallels between the developlmentof English common law and classical Roman law
    • John Henry Wigmore (US) (1863-1943) published A Panorama of the World’s Legal Systems in 1928 – it covered 16 historical and contemporary legal systems using pictorial method.
    • Wigmorehad taught at a university in Tokyo then became dean of Northwestern University in the US.
    comparative law in europe
    Comparative law in Europe
    • Europe and the US have been the two strongholds of comparative law
    • 19th Century European congresses were concerned with improving legislation, facilitating codification, and recognizing foreign legal entities such as corporations and foreign legal acts such as judgments.
    • 1900 Paris International Congress of Comparative Law – the birthplace of modern comparative law?
    • Jurists supported comparative methods derived from the fields of history, sociology and anthropology, as well as so-called doctrinal legal science.
    • Read more:
    • Note: emphasis was on comparing European laws with each other (non-European jurisdictions were largely ignored) and the focus was mainly on private law
    comparative law in the us
    Comparative law in the US
    • Pre WWI, there was activity in the US, eg, 1904 Universal Congress of Lawyers and Jurists
    • However, comparative law was largely made popular by Rudolf Schlesinger (1909-1996), a German lawyer who came to the US in 1938; graduated top of his class at Columbia in 1942 (only non-native English editor of the Columbia Law Review). He worked as a lawyer but joined Cornell Law School in 1948; later became professor of comparative law; later joined University of California, Hastings College of the Law
    • In 1950 he published Comparative Law: Cases-Texts-Materials which became THE standard text and which helped establish comparative law in US law schools.
    • It was really only after World War II that comparative law became a common part of US legal education in US law schools
    • In 1952 the American Association for the Comparative Study of Law (today the American Society of Comparative Law) began publishing the American Journal of Comparative Law. This is the leading journal in the field.
    comparative law today
    Comparative law today
    • The US and Europe remain as two regions where comparative law thrives today
    • Comparative law is taught at most US law schools; most have their own student-run comparative law journals
    • It’s also taught across European law schools
    • The EU still at the forefront, especially with its project on the harmonization of EU laws.
    • Common Core Project
    • See link on my website to an article by Ralf Michaels for more info on European comparative law
    comparative legal history are you interested in this area
    Comparative legal history…are you interested in this area??
    • Note that comparative legal history is a new but distinct field of scholarship with the field of comparative law
    • Sources/sites/blogs of interest include:
      • European Society for Comparative Legal History
        • http://esclh.blogspot.ieThis blog has excellent links to journals, conferences and other websites – check it out
      • Comparative Legal History:
      • Interesting article by Michele Graziadei:
    purpose s of comparative law
    Purpose(s) of comparative law
    • What is the purpose of comparative law? What is the point?
    • To compare, to improve, to find similarities, to find differences
    • There is no consensus about the purpose (see Bussani and Mattei at 21ff)
    • Some purposes are:
      • To attain a deeper knowledge of the legal systems of the world
      • To perfect a particular legal system (ie. By seeing whether it can borrow, or transplant, ideas from another legal system)
      • To contribute to unification of legal systems on a large or small scale (eg see the UNDRIOT initiative)
    types of comparative law
    Types of comparative law
    • Three ‘types’ of comparative law: practical, sociological and cultural?
    • Practical comparative law:
      • for the purposes of carrying out transnational litigation, arbitration;
      • for reforming the law of one country – ie. more information improves rule-making and policy formulation
      • Assist judges in making difficult decisions
      • international unification or harmonisation – improving efficiency eg 1991 Maastricht Treaty in EU; comparative law in the US across states
    • Sociological comparative law: investigating the role of law in society
    • Cultural comparative law: interesting, academically, to compare and learn more about others; to increase inter-cultural understanding; to break down boundaries, promote co-operation, the ‘ignorance breeds mistrust’ idea; to promote ‘world peace and understanding’ etc; dispelling prejudice and misunderstanding
    macro v micro
    Macro v micro
    • Macro-comparisons: comparing whole legal systems
    • Micro-comparisons: comparing a specific issue or a specific problem across 2 or more legal systems
    • Whether the study is macro or micro, an understanding is needed of at least 2 legal systems
    a point of debate differences or similarities
    A point of debate: differences or similarities?
    • One point of debate in the discipline centres on whether comparative law should look for similarities (things in common across the legal systems) or differences?
    • Should comparative law be directed at harmonizing legal systems, to make them more like one another, or should it be aimed at discovering and understanding divergence and difference
    • If the latter, can we avoid saying that one system is ‘better’ than another – ie ‘self-centrism’
    • Do we have to choose between the two extremes?
    • Schlesinger quote (see next slide)
    • What do you think?
    schlesinger on similarities v differences
    Schlesinger on similarities v differences

    Schlesinger says ‘to compare means to observe and to explain similarities as well as differences’… the emphasis is sometimes on differences and at other times on similarities. He talks of periods of ‘contractive’, which he also calls ‘contrastive’, comparison with the emphasis on differences, alternating with periods of what might be called ‘integrative’ comparison, i.e., comparison placing the main accents on similarities. Thus Schlesinger contrasts ‘integrative comparative law’ with ‘contractive or contrastive comparative law’. His conclusion is that the future belongs to ‘integrative comparative law’.

    • Schlesinger as quoted in EsinÖrücüCritical Comparative Law: Considering Paradoxes for Legal Systems in Transition (available for download from a link on my website)
    pause for thought
    Pause for thought…
    • Should legal systems seek to learn from each other? Is there anything that one legal system can learn from another? Or is each legal system unique and therefore there is no need to take any notice of other legal systems? Should judges consider other jurisdictions when making a decision?
    • Video (3 mins): “Why US Law Should Learn From Foreign Precedents”
    • Discussion
    • Question: do Kuwaiti courts ‘learn from foreign precedents’?