One issue that I just briefly mentioned in my last post is the choice of variables that help classify legal systems. In statistics, a variable is a measurable attribute for a sub-category of an entity. Variables should be intrinsically different from each other. Together, all variables should constitute a comprehensive representation of the entity as a whole. […]

Despite the (partially) fierce criticism of a quantitative approach to comparative law, the use of statistics to answer comparative law questions seems to have inspired some new comparative law research. A working paper by Mathias Siems with the title A Network-Based Taxonomy of the World’s Legal Systems uses statistics in order to “develop a difference-based taxonomy in […]

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 […]


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