Could Fiction Aid Comparative Law?

Comparative law is not as “pure” as it used to be. Modern comparative law often draws from other disciplines, such as history, economics, or linguistics. This interdisciplinarity can certainly result in beneficial symbiosis, as I have previously pointed out. Yet, how far can interdisciplinarity go?

In his recent article, Comparative Law, Literature and Imagination: Transplanting Law into Works of Fiction, Jaakko Husa introduces a new interdisciplinary area of research: comparative law and literature which he defines as

a cross-cultural field that draws comparisons between and among literature from different legal traditions, aiming to understand variations of law as they are influenced by the cultural context.

Husa coins the term imaginary legal transplant. Legal transplants in comparative law are legal concepts that are copied from one jurisdiction to another. According to Husa, imaginary legal transplants are much more inclusive and fortuitous than real world transplants. Still, imaginary legal transplants may foster our cultural understanding of legal thoughts. In other words, the way authors depict law in their fiction helps us comparative lawyers deliberate on the cultural underpinnings of our global legal traditions.


Jaakko Husa, Comparative Law, Literature and Imagination: Transplanting Law into Works of Fiction, 28 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 371-389 (2021).


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