With increasing globalization, more countries are borrowing legal systems from others. This situation has resulted in many countries having laws that closely resemble one another. In ancient times, it was a herculean task for countries to adopt new legislation from other countries, as the rules would conflict with local laws. Introduction of comparative law aimed at solving this problem by first studying the legal systems of two nation before adopting a law. This approach helped predict potential conflicts and provided the necessary changes needed for smooth integration.
Although comparative law primarily refers to studying the difference and similarities between legal systems, it is also used to refer to the study of foreign laws, regardless of presence or absence of explicit comparison. Some of the commonly studied laws in the field include Chinese law, civil law, common law, Jewish law, Islamic law, Socialist law, and Hindu law. This branch of law has helped to enhance democratization, economic globalization, and internationalism.
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The modern comparative law originated in Europe in the 18th century. The main figure behind the modern approach is Montesquieu, a French scholar. His approach is outlined in the third chapter of his book, De l’espirit de Lois. He published this masterpiece in 1948.
Following in the footsteps of Montesquieu, Sir Henry James Sumner Maine used the scholar’s approach to further his studies in the field. He was able to show the importance of the branch of law to the British society. His efforts saw him appointed by the Oxford University as its first professor of comparative law. Sir Henry published his work on this field in his 1861 work, the Ancient Law.
Comparative law serves many purposes. It helps in providing guidance on how the law of private relations can be organized, interpreted, and used in various legal systems. It also helps scholars to gain a deeper knowledge of the legal systems under study. This branch of law also helps in improving local laws and unifying legal systems.
About Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry is a comparative law professor. His extensive experience in the field has made him one of the most consulted authority in constitutional building processes, especially in countries having conflicts. Some of the countries that have benefited from his expertise are Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Libya, Jordan, and Egypt.
Sujit Choudhry is also the founder of the Center for Constitutional Transitions. He serves as a law professor of the University of California. Previously, Sujit Choudhry lectured at top universities such as the University of Toronto and New York School of Law. Choudhry has also worked as a Law Clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada. Open link.
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