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 […]

The connection between legal language and culture can be best seen in post-colonial settings. In particular, the respect for indigenous language and tradition is important when drafting treaties between Indian tribes and governments. Some of these treaties try to integrate the indigenous while others establish institutions intended to translate between the colonial and the indigenous system. […]

As we have seen here and here, translating legal texts can be tricky. Often a literal translation is not possible or would not make much sense. Therefore, proper knowledge of the foreign legal system is key. That is why comparative law and legal translation are inextricably intertwined … and why comparative lawyers should master the basics […]

In my last post, I discussed multilingualism in the European Union and its complexity, especially with regards to the translation of official legal texts. Legal academia experiences a similar problem: there is a multitude of national legal journals that often publish articles of transnational interest. Unfortunately, these articles are mostly written in the native language and therefore inaccessible […]


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