The legal origins literature comes from economists not lawyers. One major criticism has therefore been that legal origins research suffers from oversimplification which can be attributed to a lack of legal knowledge. Simplification, however, may be necessary to some extent in order to facilitate the comparative task. For example, the concept of legal families in […]

Quantitative comparative law rests on four main premises: (1) Legal systems are different; (2) Differences can be traced back to legal origins – the civil law tradition and the common law tradition; (3) Legal rules differ due to historically rooted differences in policies: market support (common law) versus policy implementation (civil law); (4) Legal differences […]

So far, we have examined cultural comparative law as a social-science-inspired methodology that may help the discipline of comparative law to accommodate modern legal developments, i.e. globalization of laws. In the next few posts, I would like to look at another relatively new comparative law method that was developed by economists: quantitative comparative law. In the late 1990s, […]

To conclude this “chapter” on culture and tradition in comparative law, I would like to mention two forthcoming publications in this area. On the legal culture side, David Nelken has a paper forthcoming in the Asian Journal on Law and Society on the concept of legal culture. Abstract: This paper addresses the controversial concept of legal culture. It first […]

In my previous post about mixed legal systems, it became evident that the conventional definition of a mixed legal system is influenced by Western ideas of a division of legal systems into two groups: civil law countries and common law countries. Such a concept is insufficient for the growing importance of non-Western law in today’s global […]

As discussed in an earlier post, comparative lawyers like to group legal systems in order to facilitate the comparative task. Traditionally, comparative law used the concept of legal families in order to cluster the legal systems of the world, mostly into simplified groups like common law countries and civil law countries. This method of classification has […]

In my last post, it became evident that culture should play a role in comparative law research. Yet what exactly is legal culture? While the strong interrelationship between law and culture has been emphasized since Baron de Montesquieu published his De L’Esprit des Lois in 1758, the concept of legal culture is still unclear. Historically, the term […]


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