Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dargo reviews "Mixed Jurisdictions Compared: Private Law in Louisiana and Scotland"

H-Net has posted a review of Mixed Jurisdictions Compared: Private Law in Louisiana and Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), a collection of essays edited by Vernon Valentine Palmer (Tulane University Law School) and Elspeth Christie Reid (University of Edinburgh School of Law).

Reviewer George Dargo (New England Law) describes it as an "excellent but challenging" book, one which "reminds us of our debt to legal sources, traditions, and modalities that lie beyond our shores." Below are a few excerpts of the review.

On the rationale for comparing Scotland and Louisiana:
Scotland and Louisiana each has a mixed legal system, with foundations in the European civil (i.e., Roman) law tradition; both heavily influenced by close proximity to a powerful, common law neighbor. In the case of Scotland, that neighbor is the English common law--the fountainhead of one of the great “legal families” in the modern world--exercising “gravitational” force upon the development of Scots law. In the case of Louisiana, the next-door neighbor is American common law, which has historically been pulling at the indigenous law of Louisiana for over two hundred years. To be sure, there are differences between Scots law and Louisiana law, not least of which is that the former maintains its fundamental adherence to the “civilian” system without benefit of a civil code. Louisiana, however, has built its mixed system around such a code--a homegrown product heavily influenced by the most influential code of modern times, the French code Civil (Napoleonic code) of 1804.

As articulated by the editors of Mixed Jurisdictions Compared, the purpose of this as well as many of the other volumes in the Edinburgh Studies in Law series is “to engage in cross-comparative studies as a means of overcoming the perils of isolation and steady assimilation by the Common Law” (p. vii). As also pointed out in the preface, comparisons between Louisiana and Scotland do not come naturally or easily. Differences in legal/political history suggest that “the potential for bilateral comparison [is] doubtful” (p. ix). Nevertheless, the origin of each of the two regimes in a single European source, however ancient, and the inherent “compatibility” of the jurisprudence that they follow, lends itself to the kind of “micro-comparisons” that are the substance of this book.

On the subjects covered:

The volume is not dedicated to a single doctrinal area as is the volume cited above on the law of succession. Rather, Mixed Jurisdictions Compared considers multifarious aspects of four broad areas of private law: real property law (with separate essays on servitudes and title conditions); family law (including discussion of the rights of the surviving spouse, trust property, the regulation of domestic relationships, and impediments to marriage); contract law; and tort law (or the law of delicts), as applied to the issue of causation in Scots law and the law of Louisiana.

You can find the rest here.

Hat tip: H-Law

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