19 December 2010

NOTICE: Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture

Professor Vernon Palmer and Edward Elgar Publishing have announced an exciting new series in comparative law: Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture.

The series is very much in the spirit of Juris Diversitas and monograph proposals are being sought:

Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture
Series Editor: Vernon Valentine Palmer, Tulane University, US

In today’s shrinking world it is important to extend our horizons and increase our knowledge of other people’s laws. This series aims to publish in-depth monographs covering various aspects of private and public law in diverse legal traditions. It additionally seeks to encourage improved techniques and methods of comparative legal research, for instance, through the increasing use of interdisciplinary studies in sociology, anthropology and economics. Individual volumes may deal with the law and culture not merely of the well-known and frequently studied countries but also with the lesser-known mixed, religious, and plural systems of the world. Regional studies are also within its purview. The focus may range from important aspects of legal history, culture, and institutions to local experience and evolving legal trends.

Please email Tara Gorvine at tgorvine@e-elgar.com to discuss a book project or for further information.

14 December 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: Mediterranean Topographies - Comparative and Interdisciplianry Approaches in Mediterranean Studies (8-9 April 2011)

Members, especially those involved in the Mediterranean Hybridity Project, might be interested in the following Call for Papers:

“Mediterranean Topographies: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approaches in Mediterranean Studies”
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
8-9 April 2011

The deepest and broadest histories of interaction are those that have taken place across oceans, and one of the most important and well recorded of these has been the Mediterranean. In the modern period, the study of this region has tended to be fragmented, based on the national, ethnic, religious, linguistic, or continental affiliations which have divided these peoples over time. In recent years, however, scholarly attention has turned to examining how the connections, exchanges, and contacts made possible by the sea — through trade, travel, conquest, and the like — might in fact constitute a collective and diverse Mediterranean identity. Centered on a body of water which facilitates exchange and, in this way, unites, this conception of the Mediterranean represents an alternative model to the divided, and divisive, ones named above — a model that is transnational and cross-cultural.

This symposium stresses an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of the Mediterranean as a region of interconnected histories and identities. We seek to bring together work in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, to reflect on the contacts and relations which have transcended geographic, linguistic, religious, ethnic, and national divisions, and created a Mediterranean “culture” with relevance for today’s — and tomorrow’s — world.

We invite abstracts ranging from 200-250 words that relate to or expand on the topics suggested below. We encourage submissions in all related disciplines such as Literature, Art History, History, Anthropology, Sociology, Architecture and Urbanism, Theatre, Gender and Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, African Studies, and Religious Studies. Along with your abstract please suggest the category or categories to which you feel your submission is best suited. Please provide your institutional affiliation and mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address. The abstract/proposal must indicate if a/v equipment is needed.

The symposium includes a roundtable discussion with the faculty: Andrew Shryok, Anthropology; Artemis Leontis, Modern Greek Studies; Dario Gaggio, European History; Frieda Ekotto, Comparative Literature; Kader Konuk, Comparative Literature; Karla Malette, Romance Languages and Literatures; Megan Holmes, Art History; Nadine Naber American Culture, Women Studies.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

- Comparative artistic and literary approaches to, and representations of, the Mediterranean
- Interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks: historical, anthropological, and literary studies
- Comparative thalassologies (islands, sea and oceanic studies)
- Comparative definitions of the Mediterranean
- Movement of labor, products, people, ideas
- Identity and representation in and across the sea
- Political/economic relations between the North and the South and the East and the West

Each panel will have a faculty respondent. Participants selected from outside the University of Michigan will receive a partial contribution to their travel costs.

The presentation should be in English, fifteen minutes in length (i.e., seven to eight pages double-spaced) and may address a topic from any period(s) or discipline(s). Please submit your abstract by e-mail attachment no later than Friday January 21, 2011 to the Meditopos symposium co-chairs, Amr Kamal and Maria Hadjipolycarpou at atkamal@umich.edu  hadjipol@umich.edu

CALLS FOR PAPERS AND PANELS: The Commission on Legal Pluralism

The Commission on Legal Pluralism (CLP) has recently noted two Calls for Papers and a Call for Panels.

The first Call for Papers is for the CLP Congress:

The jubilee congress (1981-2011) of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, entitled 'Living Realities of Legal Pluralism' will take place 8-11 September 2011 at the University of Capetown, South Africa. The Commission holds the congress in cooperation with the Centre for Legal and Applied Research (CLEAR), the Research Chair into African Customary Law and the Chair for Comparative Law in Africa of the University of Capetown.

for Panels is for the IUAES 2013 World Congress.

10 December 2010

NOTICE: Cashin Ritaine, Donlan, and Sychold et al on Comparative Law and Hybrid Legal Traditions

Eleanor Cashin Ritaine, Seán Patrick Donlan, and Martin Sychold (eds), Comparative Law and Hybrid Legal Traditions, the product of a conference co-organised by Juris Diversitas and theSwiss Institute of Comparative Law and held in Lausanne, 10–11 September 2009, will be available from Schulthess on 17 December 2010.

The contents include:

Foreward and Introduction
  • Eleanor Cashin Ritaine, Foreword
  • Seán Patrick Donlan, Comparative Law and Hybrid Legal Traditions: An Introduction
Past and Living Hybrids
  • Seán Patrick Donlan, Histories of Hybridity: a Problem, a Primer, a Plea and a Plan (of Sorts)
  • Alain Levasseur, Two Hundred (200) Years of Civil Law in English: Louisiana’s Lonely Destiny
  • Lukas Heckendorn Urscheler, Multidimensional Hybridity: Nepali Law from a Comparative Perspective
Developing Hybrids
  • Ignazio Castellucci, Chinese Law: a New Hybrid
  • Salvatore Mancuso, African Legal Hybridity: Interaction of Western, Islamic and Native Law in the Comorian Legal System
  • Colin B. Picker, A Framework for Comparative Analyses of International Law and its Institutions: Using the Example of the World Trade Organization
  • Eleanor Cashin Ritaine, Mixed and Hybrid Jurisdictions: Comparative and Methodological Considerations
Our members can order hard copies directly through the Institute; a reduced price is being arranged. Electronic copies may also become available shortly.

07 December 2010

REVIEW: Dargo on Palmer and Reid (eds), Mixed jurisdictions compared

George Dargo has reviewed Vernon Palmer and Elspeth Christie Reid (eds), Mixed jurisdictions compared: private law in Louisiana and Scotland (2009) for H-Law. The review is included in full below:

Vernon Valentine Palmer, Elspeth Christie Reid, eds. Mixed Jurisdictions Compared: Private Law in Louisiana and Scotland. Edinburgh Studies in Law Series. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009. xxxvii + 424 pp. $95.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7486-3886-4.
Reviewed by George Dargo
Published on H-Law (December, 2010)
Commissioned by Christopher R. Waldrep

Louisiana and Scotland: Mixed Legal Systems Compared

Mixed Jurisdictions Compared, authored in part and edited by Vernon Valentine Palmer and Elspeth Christie Reid, is an excellent but challenging book. 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. As the title and subtitle suggest, the volume fits very well into the growing list of publications in the series. Putting Mixed Jurisdictions Compared into that context helps to illuminate its content and further explain its significance.

For example, two books in the series (edited by John W. Cairns and Paul J. du Plessis) address main themes that underlie the collection of essays in Mixed Jurisdictions Compared itself. In Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World (2007), the fundamental question of the relationship between law and society in ancient Rome, as it affected the development of Roman private law, is examined in great detail and debated by distinguished scholars. The content of that debate are specific subjects, such as codes and codification, commerce and procedure, and law and empire. Cairns and du Plessis also edited another volume, The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula (2010), a book that assembles contributions from another group of leading authorities composed of medieval lawyers and jurists. Those essays revolve around the development of Roman law, and those jurists and lawyers who relied on such Roman texts as the Digest of Justinian to create a system of rules, the legal standards that went on to form universal common law for much of Western Europe.

Another example from the series further contextualizes Mixed Jurisdictions Compared. In Exploring the Law of Succession: Studies National, Historical and Comparative (2007) edited by Kenneth Reid, Marius de Waal, and Reinhard Zimmermann), the somewhat neglected field of succession law is examined from different intellectual perspectives. With particular focus on the mixed jurisdictions of Scotland and South Africa, individual chapters, written by scholars from different countries, analyze such topics as freedom of testation, testamentary conditions, servitudes, succession agreements, and more.

The remaining volumes in the Edinburgh Studies in Law series are worth simply noting. European Contract Law: Scots and South African Perspectives (2006) (edited by Hector MacQueen and Zimmermann) is in the comparativist vein noted before. Other volumes focus on a single writer or a single jurisdiction--unsurprisingly, this is Scotland. Accordingly, the series includes A Mixed Legal System in Transition: T. B. Smith and the Progress of Scots Law (2005) (edited by Reid and David Carey Miller); Roman Law, Scots Law and Legal History: Selected Essays (2005) (by William Gordon); Law Making and the Scottish Parliament: The Early Years (edited by Elaine E. Sutherland, Kaye E. Goodall, Gavin F. M. Little, and Fraser P. Davidson) (forthcoming); and Essays in Criminal Law in Honour of Sir Gerald Gordon (2011) (edited by James Chalmers, Fiona Leverick, and Lindsay Farmer).

Mixed Jurisdictions Compared is unique in that the subjects covered are diverse. 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.

The editors of Mixed Jurisdictions Compared are well known and much published in the field of comparative law and mixed jurisdiction. Palmer, of Tulane University in New Orleans, is a leader in the awakened new interest in the history of Louisiana law. Palmer’s original essay on the comparisons between Louisiana and Scotland with respect to “contracts of intellectual gratification” (that is, contracts that advance an individual’s personality interests as opposed to purely commercial or economic values), concludes that despite their differences in history, geographic location, doctrinal development, legal structure, and orientation, Scotland and Louisiana “balanced their dual traditions in similar ways and with similar results” (p. 243). Reid also deals with issues of “personality” but from a torts/delicts point of view rather than from a contracts perspective. The rights in question here are summarized in the civil code of Quebec: “Every person is the holder of personality rights, such as the right to life, the right to the inviolability and integrity of his person, and the right to the respect of his name, reputation and privacy. These rights are inalienable” (p. 388). Reid’s conclusion is that in the case of personality rights--generally subsumed under a right to privacy--the law of Louisiana and the law of Scotland, at least with respect to this subject area, is “a study in difference” (p. 410). What is of particular importance, and what the editors as well as many of the other contributors to Mixed Jurisdictions Compared achieve, is attention to not only the historical roots of comparability in jurisdictions such as these, but also the difference it makes in terms of results and outcomes. Causes as well as the ramifications of their effects should continue to be of concern to comparativists in volumes of this kind.

Mixed Jurisdictions Compared is an important book because it reminds us of our debt to legal sources, traditions, and modalities that lie beyond our shores. At a time when legal writers and jurists, some very highly placed, continue to insist that American law is exceptional and that it must be preserved from outside contamination, Mixed Jurisdictions Compared tells us that there is one channel of infiltration that can never be shut off. When America acquired Louisiana in 1803, it forever foreclosed any possibility that American law would remain as insular as some now suggest it should be. Louisiana is the most dramatic example--there are others--of how the ebbs and flows of law cannot and should not be stopped at the waters edge. It is no surprise, therefore, that interest in cross-cultural influences, hybrid legal systems, and the role of history have become an important field for timely as well as distinguished scholarship. Mixed Jurisdictions Compared exemplifies this evolution.

If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the list discussion logs at: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl.

Citation: George Dargo. Review of Palmer, Vernon Valentine; Reid, Elspeth Christie, eds., Mixed Jurisdictions Compared: Private Law in Louisiana and Scotland. H-Law, H-Net Reviews. December, 2010.

URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=31487

The Future of Adversarial Systems


The Third Conference on the Future of Adversarial Systems, April 1, 2011

In the European Union, criminal justice is a rapidly expanding area. But while police and prosecutorial co-operation has been relatively unproblematic, the establishment of corresponding basic procedural safeguards for suspects has proved impossible. This undermines confidence and mutual trust in EU member states’ legal systems and creates a gap in the protection of the accused that cannot be filled by mutual recognition alone. An EU measure would provide for precise and uniform safeguards across all member states, enforceable irrespective of any trial or subsequent proceedings. Yet for this very reason there has been resistance: the imposition of a level of procedural uniformity upon the member states would require all states to provide for basic due process rights to the same standard and at the same point in the proceedings.

The question, then, is whether the rights at issue should be settled by a central document emanating from the EU, or should be left to the member states to decide. This problem is the topic of heated debate and the subject of a proposed EU directive. In approaching the problem it is natural to look to the experience of the United States, which has dealt with the same problem through judicial application of the Bill of Rights to the individual states.

For the Third Conference on the Future of Adversary Systems, we have invited seven scholars – three Americans and four Europeans – to take part in this debate. The Conference will take place on April 1, 2011 at the UNC Center for School Leadership Development, on the campus of the Friday Center. The Conference, as always, is sponsored by the Law School and the UNC Center for European Studies, with funds from the European Union and the U.S. Department of Education.

Professional credit will be available. For more information, please contact Mike Corrado or Richard Myers; or visit the website. For those interested in learning more about the topic, a short paper on the subject by Professor Jacqueline Hodgson will be available on the website.

Please save the date. Information about registration will be sent out in February.


Christopher Slobogin, Vanderbilt
Jacqueline Hodgson, Warwick, UK
Donald Dripps, San Diego
Taru Spronken and Dorris de Vocht, Maastricht, Netherlands
Richard Myers, UNC
Martin Boese, Bonn, Germany

06 December 2010

OFFER: Hart Publishing Discount for Comparative Law Blog Readers

Members should know about the following generous standing offer from Hart Publishing for Comparative Law Blog readers:

Hart Publishing is delighted to offer readers of the comparativelawblog 20% discount on their comparative law titles. To receive the discount on any comparative law book please quote reference ‘CLB’ when placing your order. If you are ordering online then please quote the reference in the special instructions field. Please note that the discount will not show up on your order confirmation but will be applied when your order is processed.

NOTICE: Ferrari and Cristofori on Law and Religion in the 21st Century

Ashgate has published S Ferrari and R Cristofori (eds), Law and religion in the 21st century: relations between states and religious communities (2010).

This book brings together leading international scholars of law and religion to provide an overview of current issues in State-religion relations. The first part of the collection offers a picture of recent developments in key countries and regions. The second part is focused on Europe and, in particular, on the Nordic States and the post-communist countries where State-religion systems have undergone most profound change. The third and final part is devoted to four issues that are currently debated all over the world: the relations between freedom of expression and freedom of religion; proselytism and the right to change religion; the religious symbols; and the legal status of Islam in Europe and Canada.
The work will be a valuable resource for academics, students and policy-makers with an interest in the interaction between law and religion.

The contents include:
  • A perspective from the sociology of religion, Grace Davie
  • State and religion in South Africa: open issues and recent developments, Lourens M. du Plessis
  • States and religions in West Africa: problems and perspectives, Fatou Kiné Camara
  • Religious communities and the state in modern India, Tahir Mahmood
  • State and religion in Japan. Yasukuni Shrine as a case study, Hiroaki Kobayashi
  • Religion and the state in the United States at the turn of the 21st century, W. Cole Durham Jr and Robert T. Smith
  • Religions and law: current challenges in Latin America, Juan Navarro Floria
  • State and religion in Europe, Giuseppe Casuscelli
  • States and religions in post-Communist Europe, Giovanni Barberini
  • The recent developments of church-state relations in Central Europe, Balázs Schanda
  • Church and state relations in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, Antonello De Oto
  • States and churches in Northern Europe: achieving freedom and equality through establishment, Marco Ventura
  • Not even believing in belonging: states and churches in 5 North-European (post) Lutheran countries, Lisbet Christoffersen
  • Church and state in the United Kingdom: anachronism or microcosm, Mark Hill
  • Protection against religious hatred under the United Nations ICCPR and the European Convention system, Jeroen Temperman
  • Religious freedom and freedom of expression in France, Blandine Chélini-Pont
  • Limits and Guarantees of a Debated Right: Proselytism and the right to change religion, Asher Moaz
  • Proselytism and the right to change religion in Islam, Roberta Aluffi Beck-Peccoz
  • Proselytism and the right to change religion in Israel, Aviad Hacohen
  • Proselytism and the right to change religion: the Romanian debate, Nicolae V. Dura
  • Religious symbols: an introduction, Malcolm D. Evans
  • Religious symbols between forum internum and forum externum, Peter Petkoff
  • A brief introduction on the religious symbols debate in Italy and the United States, Adelaide Madera
  • The European Court of Human Rights on religious symbols in public institutions – a comparative perspective: maximum protection of the freedom of religion through judicial minimalism?, Hans Martien Th.D. ten Napel and Florian H.K. Theissen
  • Civil religion and religious symbols in public institutions in Russia, Elena Miroshnikova
  • The current debate on Islam, Mathias Rohe
  • Canadian Muslim women and resolution of family conflicts: an empirical qualitative study (2005–2007), Anne Saris and Jean-Mathieu Potvin
  • The implementation of the 1992 agreement in Spain, Carmen Garcimartín
  • Islam at the threshold, Andrea Pin
  • Conclusion, Silvio Ferrari

03 December 2010

NOTICE: O’Brien Fellowships for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism has announced O’Brien Fellowships for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

The O’Brien Fellowship was established in 2005 through a very generous gift from David O’Brien (BCL ’65) for outstanding graduate students studying in the area of human rights and legal pluralism in the Faculty of Law.

The Fellowship is Awarded annually by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office upon recommendation of the Faculty of Law. Fellows become members of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.

Application deadline: January 15.


Maximum $25,000 per annum, renewable once for LL.M., twice for D.C.L. (if eligibility is maintained). Renewal for a second and, if applicable, third year is subject to maintaining good standing in the program and providing a satisfactory progress report.

To find out more

To find out more about the conditions of eligibility, selection criteria, and application procedure, and to download the application forms, see McGill Graduate Law Admissions: Financial help: O'Brien Fellowships.

Hat tip to the Legal History Blog.

02 December 2010

NOTICE: A Quick Recap of our Catania Roundtables

Juris Diversitas recently co-organised two successful roundtables in Catania:

  • The first focused on the Mediterranean Hybridity Project (MHP), launched in Malta in June 2010 and co-organised with Juris Diversitas. The MHP involves the creation of a collaborative interdisciplinary network to study both state laws and other non-state norms in the region. The aim is to create, at a minimum, jurisdictional reports resulting in a published collection. Discussion at the roundtable centred on the selection of participants and the discussion of the questionnaire to be used. It was also decided that both English and French would be the working languages of the project and that additional participants would be sought. Especially important is the inclusion of individuals with social science backgrounds and scholars from the Levant and North Africa.
  • The second roundtable focused on what is now called the Legal Philosophy in Context Project (LPCP). The LPCP will investigate legal theory in historical, comparative, and social contexts. Similar to the MHP, this will be accomplished through jurisdictional reports prepared on the basis of a questionnaire prepared by the project leaders and will result in a published collection. Now a Juris Diversitas project, additional participants specialising in legal philosophy are being sought.

Individuals or institutions seeking additional information or interested in participating or sponsoring our work should contact Dr Seán Patrick Donlan (sean.donlan@ul.ie).

Please feel free to circulate this message to other individuals, institutions, blogs, etc.

01 December 2010

REMINDER: Pluri-Legal Discussion Group

Members are reminded that the Pluri-Legal Group might be of interest.

Pluri-Legal is an e-mail discussion group on JISCmail devoted to issues regarding the legal accommodation of cultural, ethnic and religions minorities in Europe.

You can join by going to www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PLURI-LEGAL.

NOTICE: Comparative Studies in Society and History

A recent issue of (2010) 52:3 Comparative Studies in Society and History had a number of law-related articles that might be of interest to members. It contained the following:
  • Editorial ForewordComparative Studies in Society and History
  • Hussein Ali Agrama, Secularism, Sovereignty, Indeterminacy: Is Egypt a Secular or a Religious State?
  • Nandini Chatterjee, English Law, Brahmo Marriage, and the Problem of Religious Difference: Civil Marriage Laws in Britain and India
  • James McDougall, The Secular State's Islamic Empire: Muslim Spaces and Subjects of Jurisdiction in Paris and Algiers, 1905-1957
  • Joyce Dalsheim, On Demonized Muslims and Vilified Jews: Between Theory and Politics
  • Jhaled Furani, Said and the Religious Other
  • Gregory Starrett, The Varieties of Secular Experience
  • Kabir Tambar, The Aesthetics of Public Visibility: Alevi Semah and the Paradoxes of Pluralism in Turkey
  • John R Bowen, Secularism: Conceptual Genealogy or Political Dilemma?
There are also a number of interesting book reviews in the issue as well. The latest issue is also available online (for a fee).

26 November 2010

NOTICE: Law and Society Association Collaborative Research Networks

Members might be interested in the Law and Society Association's Collaborative Research Networks:

Collaborative Research Networks (CRNs) were originally developed, with the assistance of a grant from the National Science Foundation, at the 2000 Annual Meeting in Miami to facilitate international research collaboration in selected topics for presentation at the meeting in Budapest in July 2001.

After those meetings, some CRNs decided to continue and build on their success by expanding their network of scholars. Many new CRNs have since been developed and CRNs have become an significant and integral component in Annual Meetings. Many organize several thematic sessions for each Annual Meeting as well as use the occasion to hold business meetings.

A CRN Coordinator is appointed by the LSA President to coordinate existing CRNs and accept proposals for new ones.

The Networks include:
  • African Law and Society
  • Biotechnology, Bioethics and the Law
  • British Colonial Legalities
  • Cause Lawyering
  • Citizenship and Immigration
  • Civil Justice and Disputing Behavior
  • Collective Human Rights
  • Critical Research on Race and the Law
  • The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment
  • Culture, Society, and Intellectual Property
  • East Asian Law and Society
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Gender and Judging
  • Gender, Sexuality and Law
  • Integrating Gender into Legal Education
  • International Human Rights
  • International Socio-Legal Feminisms
  • Labor Rights
  • Language and Law
  • Law and Counter-Hegemonic Globalization
  • Law and Indigeneity
  • Law and Public-Private Dichotomy
  • Law and Social Movements
  • Law and Social Theory
  • Lay Participation in Legal Systems
  • Law, Society and Taxation
  • Legal Complex and Struggles for Political Liberalism
  • Legal Geography
  • Prisons and Prisoners
  • Private Practice Lawyers
  • Public Opinion and the Courts
  • Realist and Empirical Legal Methods
  • Regulatory Governance
  • Rule of Law, State Building and Transition
  • South Asia
  • Teaching in Law and Society
  • Transnational Legal Orders

CALL FOR PAPERS: Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association (2-5 June 2011)

San Francisco, California USA
June 2-5, 2011
Call for Participation
Proposal Due Date: December 8, 2010

The 2011 Annual Meeting of Law and Society Association, Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, in San Francisco, CA USA.

Theme: Oceans Apart? Narratives of (Il)Legality in Liminal Locations

Law and Society scholars have consistently challenged both the fit and the applicability of these and other binaries, questioning what citizenship status, class, race, or politics really mean in myriad contexts. However, early in a new decade (and new century), many law and society scholars find ourselves in somewhat of a liminal space, facing whole new sets of border crossings, blurring boundaries, empirical challenges, and conceptual conundra. For example, in the U.S., the continued growth of mass incarceration coupled with the extended reach of criminal law and “civil” municipal regulations have destabilized entire communities, where categories of “incarcerated” and “free” are no longer clearly distinguishable. Around the world, political and legal responses to human migration have broken down lines between immigration law, economic regulation, and criminal justice in complex and often troubling ways.

As a result of these kinds of boundary dissolutions, notions about citizenship, sovereignty, illegality, and rights (to name a few) have all been complicated, challenging a number of longstanding assumptions underlying legal scholarship. How does the law in its many forms help or hurt the resulting conversations? The theme of the 2011 LSA Meeting–Oceans Apart? Narratives of (Il)legality in Liminal Locations–invites us to ponder the shifting and dissolving boundaries around us, empirical and conceptual, and also what they may tell us about law’s relevance, and limitations, in shaping our global future. It is fitting that we begin this exploration in San Francisco, one of the great transnational cities in the world. San Francisco, with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, is located in a state that borders Mexico (and once was part of that nation), and which was once traversed only by native peoples. This locale is subject to tectonic forces, literal as well as environmental and social, which shape the human uses of law and responses to law. San Francisco constitutes an ideal setting for convening scholars who are concentrating their efforts on these issues.

24 November 2010

NOTICE: (2010) 3 Journal of Civil Law Studies

The Center of Civil Law Studies announces the publication of Volume 3 of the Journal of Civil Law Studies (JCLS). Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the JCLS are freely accessible online, at www.law.lsu.edu/jcls.

Volume 3 of the JCLS contains the papers of the Saúl Litvinoff Civil Law Workshop Series. The general theme was Civil Law and Common Law: Cross Influences, Contamination, and Permeability.

  • Foreword, Olivier Moréteau & Ronald Scalise Jr.
  • An Introduction to Contamination, Olivier Moréteau
  • Don Saúl Litvinoff (1925-2010), Agustín Parise & Julio Romañach Jr.
  • Foundations for a Revival of the Case Method in Civil Law Education, Fernando M. Toller
  • The Vienna Sales Convention (CISG) between Civil and Common law–Best of all Worlds?, Ulrich Magnus
  • Legal Theory and the Variety of Legal Cultures, Sheldon Leader
  • The Reform of Legal Education in China and Japan: Shifting from the Continental to the American Model, Xiangshun Ding
  • Press Freedom in Indonesia: A Case of Draconian Laws, Statutory Misinterpretation, but still one of the Freest in Southeast Asia, Nono Anwar Makarim
  • Common Law, Civil Law, and the Challenge from Federalism, Santiago Legarr
  • The Principle of Proportionality: The Challenges of Human Rights, Juan Cianciardo
  • Academic Legal Writings by Saúl Litvinoff

23 November 2010

NOTICE: Palmer on the Louisiana Supreme Court

Professor Palmer has just informed me of his 'corrected' study of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Both Louisianians and non-Louisianians will find it interesting. - SPD

Dear Colleagues, I am pleased to inform you that my corrected study has just been published in Global Jurist (Berkeley Press). Please see my covering “note” to the reader below, and you may access the article without charge through the links indicated.

Best wishes, Vernon

New Corrected Study on the Louisiana Supreme Court
and Campaign Contributions
Published in Global Jurist - November, 2010.
Read the Article in Global Jurist

A Note from the Author - Vernon Palmer:

It is the duty of a scholar, I believe, to admit and correct his errors. The important thing is to set the record straight and to advance the truth.

In that spirit I am presenting my latest publication, The Recusal of American Judges in the Post-Caperton Era: An Empirical Assessment of the Risk of Actual Bias in Decisions Involving Campaign Contributors. This new article expands upon and carefully corrects my previous study published in the Tulane Law Review (2008) concerning the influence of campaign contributions on the Louisiana Supreme Court. The previous study was sharply criticized by the Justices who pointed out a number of errors in the data and called for corrections and an apology.

After two years of painstaking research and rechecking, here are my republished results.

The striking thing is that the overall conclusions of the first study remain basically unchanged. Furthermore, the calculations have been independently confirmed and replicated by an outside research institute. Thus the present study rests not only on a strong foundation but it reaffirms the general finding that the Court’s refusal to recuse itself in campaign contributor situations is a threat to the court’s own impartiality and reveals a risk of actual bias.

The findings are summarized on pp. 6-9 of the text. Among other things they show the Court, as a whole, votes for its contributors on average about 65% of the time (in nearly two out of three cases); individually, certain Justices greatly exceed 65%. One Justice voted for his contributors’ side of the case 100% of the time. That percentage reflects a serious risk of actual bias. There is also evidence of similar risk when the Court faced contributors on both sides of the case. The voting of certain Justices was anomalous. They sharply favored the larger of the two contributors, regardless of the side he was on, and though it contrasted with their general voting tendency when no money was involved.

The expanded investigation also brings to light, for the first time, detailed data about the occult and little-known practice of accepting campaign contributions from litigants in cases under deliberation. The data reveal that a number of Justices vote for the position of their sub judice contributors 100% of the time. This has an appearance of impropriety and also reflects a significant risk of actual bias.

© 2010 - Vernon Palmer

20 November 2010

NOTICE: Feliu, Kim-Prieto, and Miguel on the Spanish Roots of Louisiana Civil Law

Vicenç Feliú, Dennis Kim-Prieto, and Teresa M Miguel have written "A Closer Look: A Symposium Among Legal Historians and Law Librarians to Uncover the Spanish Roots of the Louisiana Civil Law":

The debate regarding whether the origin of Louisiana civil law is based in the Spanish or in the French legal tradition has been ongoing since that state’s incorporation into the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. Distinguished legal scholars have argued in favor of one tradition being dominant over the other, and each has been staunch in support of that view. This article proposes and demonstrates that the Spanish, not French, civil law had an enormous influence on the creation and evolution of Louisiana civil law, and that this legacy resonates today.

The article begins with a brief historical account of the formation of Louisiana from territory to statehood. It then closely examines the contributions of Louis Casimir Elisabeth Moreau Lislet, the architect of the Digest of 1808 and the Code of 1825. Original Spanish documents and resources that were the foundation of the Digest of 1808 are analyzed and used to demonstrate how these Spanish civil law sources had a profound impact on Moreau Lislet and on the creation of Louisiana civil law. Finally the continuing evolution of Louisiana civil law and the now-famous Batiza-Pascal debate on the origins of the Louisiana civil law are carefully examined.

NOTICE: Utrect Law Review

Note that the (2010) 6:3 Utrecht Law Review is now available.

It's a special issue on Euroscepticism and Multiculturalism. It contains the following:

Frank van Schendel, Irene Aronstein
Introduction – Euroscepticism and multiculturalism

Veit Bader
Constitutionalizing secularism, alternative secularisms or liberal-democratic constitutionalism? A critical reading of some Turkish, ECtHR and Indian Supreme Court cases on ‘secularism’

Leonard F.M. Besselink
National and constitutional identity before and after Lisbon

Ruth Sefton-Green
Multiculturalism, Europhilia and harmonization: harmony or disharmony?

Jan M. Smits
Beyond Euroscepticism: on the choice of legal regimes as empowerment of citizens

Esin Örücü
Diverse cultures and official laws: multiculturalism and Euroscepticism?

Irene Aronstein
‘The Union shall respect cultural diversity and national identities’ Lisbon’s concessions to Euroscepticism – true promises or a booby-trap?

10 November 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly Special Issue

The following Call for Papers might be of interest:

Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Special Issue
Bench and Bar: The (Dis)appearance of Britain

We are compiling a Special Issue for the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (NILQ) on the topic of ‘Bench and Bar: The (Dis)appearance of Britain’. We wish to invite scholars with an interest in this broad theme to submit abstracts of around 250 words by Friday 31 December 2010. We will make a provisional selection by the end of January 2011 and then ask contributors to provide a full draft of their text by Tuesday 31 May 2011. These will then be refereed blind in the usual way. Final articles accepted for publication should be with the NILQ by November 2011 for publication in the first volume of 2012.

As the British Empire extended its reach during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Western (specifically British) concepts of law and justice were exported around the world. As the empire retracted in the twentieth century, a residual legal order was left in its wake: the common law. In many colonies and British territories, the early twentieth century was a time of uncertainty. As the roles of the imperial parliament and the judicial committee of the Privy Council changed, national legal systems began to emerge.

This Special Issue of the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly seeks to address some of the issues which have arisen as a consequence of the (dis)appearance of British Imperialism.

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):
  • The role of national courts and legislatures in shaping ‘new’ legal orders
  • How tension between old and new orders was resolved
  • How the judiciary and legal community responded to the abolition of Privy Council appeals
  • The role of law in the formation of new states
  • How former colonies and dominions have diverged in their interpretation and development of common law principles
  • The role of lawyers and legal professions in the transition from imperialism to independence
  • Whether British systems of law and justice continue to exert influence over the legal systems of its former territories; and whether lawmakers in former colonies have looked and continue to look towards Britain for guidance
  • The Bench and Bar in the UK and the colonies, for example:
    • How was the English model exported?
    • The extent to which the English model is still used?
    • Whether ex-colonies made changes to their legal professions in the aftermath of independence?
  • The influence of individuals who migrated from the English bar to the colonial bars?
Please send abstracts via email attachment to:

Dr Karen Brennan, Queen’s University of Belfast, School of Law, k.brennan@qub.ac.uk
Dr Niamh Howlin, Queen’s University of Belfast, School of Law, n.howlin@qub.ac.uk
Dr Sara Ramshaw, Queen’s University of Belfast, School of Law, s.ramshaw@qub.ac.uk

07 November 2010

Italian Association of Comparative Law bi-annual conference, Venice, 9-11 June 2011

The Italian Association of Comparative Law launched a call for papers in relation to its bi-annual conference, which in 2011 will be be held in Venice, on 9-11 June. The call for papers indicates 31 January 2011 as the deadline for submisison of an abstract.
The general, or main, subject of the conference seems to be related to law and governance issues. Several interesting topics have been listed, including one related to legal hybridity.
Details on http://aidcblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/venice-2011-aidc-xxi-conference.html

01 November 2010

NOTICE: Ashgate Library of Essays in Contemporary Legal Theory

Ashgate has announced an excellent new three-volume Library of Essays in Contemporary Legal Theory:

Series Editors: William Twining, University College London, UK, Wil Waluchow, McMaster University, Canada, Michael Giudice, York University, Canada and Maksymilian Del Mar, Edinburgh University, UK

Library of Essays in Contemporary Legal Theory The discipline of legal theory has flourished over the last thirty years, as shown by the proliferation of methodological debates and controversies. These debates are not only relevant to how legal theory understands its own enterprise: its problems, aims and issues of scope. They are also relevant to many other aspects of the practice of legal theory, for example its role vis-à-vis the practice of law and the practice of other related activities, such as legal scholarship and legal education. As the ambitions of legal theory grow, so do questions concerning its relations with other disciplines, such as comparative law, but also, much more broadly, the social sciences.

This three volume series on contemporary legal theory brings together a selection of previously published articles from leading legal theorists which are key papers in the discussion of the above controversies and challenges. Each volume opens with a substantial introduction to the papers and their context and ends with a selective bibliography for further reading.

NOTICE: Colonies and Postcolonies of Law Conference (18 March 2011)

I just received information on the following:

History Department, Princeton University Friday, March 18th 2011

The conference addresses the centrality of law in the construction of colonial rule. We aim to examine how colonial law emerged as colonialists interacted with diverse populations in the colonies. The study of the relationship between law and colonialism has taken two broad trajectories.
On one hand, scholars have highlighted how law provided the instruments for the creation of the colonial state, allowing it to exercise a vast amount of power in restructuring the colony. Conversely, law opened up avenues of resistance for colonized populations. This conference aims to go beyond this dichotomy by focusing on law as a site of constant negotiation which produced new forms of bureaucracy and documentation practices. As colonial legal systems cast long shadows and formed the bedrock of the national legal systems today, this conference will also examine how these colonial legal regimes influence postcolonial nations. The last few years has seen a growth of interest in colonial legal history to which this conference hopes to contribute by bringing junior scholars together in conversation.

NYU Professor of History Lauren Benton will deliver a keynote address at the conference.

Sub themes

Defining Legality: Criminals, Outlaws and Rebels - New categories of legality emerged during the colonial period such that criminals and rebels became interchangeable notions. What makes a ‘rebel’ and a ‘criminal’? What counts as evidence of a crime? How were penal regimes created? How did colonial regimes contribute to the construction of the international laws of war and human rights?

Competing Legitimacies: Religious Law and Colonial Authority - The colonial state grappled with existing legal systems in the colony. Some systems were delegitimized while others were bolstered under the purview of colonial rule. By privileging certain forms of legitimacy, colonial states challenged traditional norms and institutions such as customary rights and religious laws. Why were certain legal systems granted legitimacy under the colonial rule? How did certain religious texts and figures emerge as more authoritative than others? How did the process of translation change understandings of key religious concepts? What forms of tensions were created between traditional authorities and the emerging modern legal profession in the colony?

Private Lives and Public Law - The modern colonial state crafted new boundaries between the public and private. For example, colonial projects of social reform transformed marital and kinship relations. How did the colonial legal regime come to delineate the private and the public sphere? How did colonized populations engage with this process of delineation? How did the changing legal order affect colonial subjects, in particular women, who often emerged as the sites for legal reform? Did postcolonial nations adopt colonial legal conceptions of the private and public spheres?

Constructing Borders - Colonial law demanded certainty of boundaries and jurisdiction, yet it operated within a plural legal order and had limited capacity to police frontiers. How were legal borders fixed? How did colonial populations choose between competing forums granted by neighboring jurisdictions? How did the emergence of the postcolonial nations complicate colonial mapping and jurisdictional jostling?

Law and Capital - The centrality of trade and capital to the colonial project is increasingly overshadowed by cultural and social histories. Law, in the form of land revenue, forest laws and mercantile regulations, was in fact, central to the economic project of the colonial state. Can law be used to bring economic histories in conversation with the social and cultural? What economic practices came to be legitimized with the colonial reordering of the economy? How did colonial law engage with older kinship based mercantile networks such as those of the Arabs, Chinese, Parsis and Marwaris?

Paper proposals should include a title, a 350-word abstract, institutional affiliation and contact information. Please submit proposals to coloniesoflaw@gmail.com by December 15th 2010.

Organizers: Nurfadzilah Yahaya and Rohit De, History Department, Princeton University

NOTICE: Annual Review of Law and Social Science

The latest (2010) 6 Annual Review of Law and Social Science is now available online. The list of articles is extensive, but includes the following:
  • Annual ReviewsRichard L. Abel, Law and Society: Project and Practice
  • Lee Epstein and Tonja Jacobi, The Strategic Analysis of Judicial Decisions
  • Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela Gross, Comparative Studies of Law, Slavery, and Race in the Americas
  • Mark C. Suchman and Elizabeth Mertz, Toward a New Legal Empiricism: Empirical Legal Studies and New Legal Realism
  • Shari Seidman Diamond and Pam Mueller, Empirical Legal Scholarship in Law Reviews
  • Lauren B. Edelman, Gwendolyn Leachman, and Doug McAdam, On Law, Organizations, and Social Movements

20 October 2010

NOTICE: Pimentel on legal pluralism in post-colonial Africa

David Pimentel's Legal pluralism in post-colonial Africa: linking statutory and customary adjudication in Mozambique is now available on SSRN. The abstract reads:

File:Flag of Mozambique.svgLegal pluralism is a contemporary reality and a challenge in most post-colonial African states, as they grapple with how to preserve the cultural heritage reflected in their customary law and institutions, while attempting to function as modern constitutional regimes. Few of them have found structural solutions for linkages between and mutual co-existence of multiple legal regimes within the same state.

The policy that will drive the establishment of proper linkages must be approached with an eye to what the purpose of preserving a legally pluralistic regime, distinguishing the motivations of many - colonists in the past, and political opportunists today - who have exploited pluralistic systems for their own self-interest. It is also necessary to recognize and preserve the virtues inherent in customary systems - systems historically undervalued as “primitive,” and still under attack by those who see them as threats to the protection of human rights.

There are no easy answers for how to correlate and link pluralistic adjudication in post-colonial African states, and Mozambique may present a particularly troublesome case. Although the precise mechanisms cannot be articulated with specificity, perhaps, the core underlying principles can. Those principles should respect traditional systems and values, affording them dignity as independent systems. To make them subservient to the state institutions, allowed to exist as long as they serve the state institutions on the state’s terms, would be nothing more than a repackaging and relabeling of tried-and-failed colonial approaches.

Instead, the pluralistic regime should operate on the principle of “maximizing” the role and impact of indigenous law, and giving equal dignity to the institutions that apply such law. This will require state courts to defer to community-based adjudication, even declining to exercise jurisdiction when the case can be appropriately resolved in the latter forum. It will grant concurrent jurisdiction wherever possible, supplementing it with consent jurisdiction for those who could not otherwise be subject to the authority of the traditional forum.

The most troubling aspects of traditional law, the oft-cited human rights violations, cannot be ignored. A mechanism can and must be developed for guarding against those, doing as little violence as possible to the autonomy and dignity of traditional fora. A system of collateral review - giving statutory courts limited jurisdiction to review a traditional forum’s decision for compliance with constitutional human rights standards - can serve that function. It is calculated to tamper with traditional dispute resolution systems as little as possible, and to respect the community forum as much as possible. Most importantly, it allows customary law to respond in its own way to the human rights requirements, not threatening customary law with restrictions, but strengthening customary law by fostering its legitimacy and relevance. Most importantly, it will allow the customary law, and its application, to remain solely the province of traditional authorities, where it can continue to function as a vital and highly adaptive foundation in rural society.

Operational solutions - for Mozambique as well as other pluralistic societies that face similar challenges - will require ongoing attention, but the central values of legal pluralism can be maintained as long as the implementation does not stray from these core principles: maximization of indigenous law, and equal dignity for the traditional forum.

12 October 2010


Brian Z Tamanaha (Washington University School of Law) has posted an upcoming article, 'A Vision of Social-Legal Change: Rescuing Ehrlich from "Living Law"' on SSRN. The paper will appear in Law and Social Inquiry. The abstract reads

Prominent American jurists in the early twentieth century immediately recognized the genius of Eugen Ehrlich. Oliver Wendell Holmes told English jurist Frederick Pollock that he considered Ehrlich’s Fundamental Principles “the best book on legal subjects by any living continental jurist.” Roscoe Pound wrote in 1915 to John Chipman Gray, “I think it is the best thing that has been written lately.” Karl Llewellyn lamented that when he found Ehrlich, he was “somewhat crushed in spirit, because [Ehrlich] had seen so much.” Llewellyn identified Ehrlich as an early realist in law.

Following this initial burst of enthusiasm, Ehrlich was soon forgotten in America. He is rarely mentioned in legal theory circles today. Legal sociologists frequently give Ehrlich an honorific nod as a pioneer in their field, but his work is seldom engaged. After a long period of neglect, signs of a revival of interest in Ehrlich have begun to appear, especially among European theorists of legal pluralism.

This essay explains why US jurists were excited about Ehrlich, and also why he quickly faded. His famous notion of “living law” has a conceptual flaw that cannot be overcome. Legal pluralists who resort to Ehrlich for their concept of law will come up against the same flaw. Ehrlich's more enduring contribution lies not in the notion of “living law” but in his vivid account of social-legal change. Ehrlich wrote in a period of rapid economic, political, social and technological change. He describes how law responds to alterations in society — especially through the daily work of lawyers and the decisions of judges. He shows how law is alive and constantly moving. This vision is what attracted US jurists to Ehrlich then, and it is why he is relevant today, for society is again undergoing sweeping transformations.

This is worth a read.

01 October 2010

REMINDER: Mediterranean Hybridity Project (Catania - 25 October 2010)

An interdisciplinary roundtable on the legal and normative hybridity of the Mediterranean region will be held in Catania on Monday, 25 October 2010. Organised with Juris Diversitas and hosted at the University of Catania, the event is part of the Mediterranean Hybridity Project launched in Malta in June 2010.

The Project is creating a collaborative interdisciplinary network of experts to study both (i) the state laws that are the domain of lawyers and (ii) the wider normative orders typically studied by social scientists. It marries conceptual and empirical models from the legal and social sciences, especially earlier analyses of ‘mixed legal systems’ and legal/normative pluralism.

Our intention is to create multidisciplinary jurisdictional reports, resulting in a published collection, and a database on the laws and non-state norms of the region. The roundtable will allow the project leaders to select the participants involved over the course of the project, to finalise the questions to be posed, and to consider our options for collaboration and funding.

Note, too, that while the language of the coming roundtable will be English, our intention is to allow the use of either English or French for the final reports. 

For those attending the roundtable, it’ll take place in the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Catania (via Vittorio Emanuele II, 49). Our simplified and flexible schedule is as follows:

1000 Coffee
1030 Project Overview
11-1230 Discussion
1230-1 Working Break
1-130 Discussion
130-3 Lunch
3-4 Discussion and conclusion
4 Possible walking tour of Catania
8 Dinner

Note that the Hotel Novecento is very near the meeting site and has offered a conference rate at:

€80 Double room (single use) with buffet breakfast
€90 Double room with buffet breakfast
€110 Triple room with buffet breakfast

The hotel’s at via Monsignor Ventimiglia, 37. Its phone number is 0039-095310488 and the email address is infobooking@hotelnovecentocatania.it.

Feel free, of course, to inform others of our work. We're especially interested in attracting additional individuals with training in the social sciences as well as participants from the Balkans, North Africa, and the Levant. Individuals or institutions interested in participating or sponsoring our work should also contact us.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Dr Seán Patrick Donlan (sean.donlan@ul.ie) or Dr Biagio Andò (bando@lex.unict.it). While the organisers are not able to fund expenses, there is no cost to attend.

30 September 2010

NOTICE: The Stellenbosch Papers in the Tulane European & Civil Law Forum

The Tulane European & Civil Law Forum has published articles generated from a colloquium on 'Mixed Jurisdictions as Models?' The colloquium was held in May 2009 and sponsored by the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists and the International Association of Legal Science. The introduction by Vernon Palmer, President of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists reads:

Readers of past issues of the Forum are aware of the growing interest in comparative law circles for the mixed jurisdictions and other mixed systems of the world. These pluralist legal orders often internalize common law, civil law, and various personal and religious laws reflecting the diversity of its people and the complexity of its past. It has been asserted that mixed legal systems are the most prevalent type of legal system in the world today. In many respects they may be considered the wave of the future, given the trends toward globalization and international harmonization of laws. On the conviction that Tulane and the Forum should help promote an understanding of these systems, of which Louisiana and South Africa are examples, the Forum is pleased to present the collected papers of the international Colloquium that took place at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa on May 14-15, 2009.

This Colloquium was jointly sponsored by the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists and the International Association of Legal Science and its stated theme was "Mixed Jurisdictions as Models? Perspectives from Southern Africa and Beyond". Our generous hosts were Professors Jacques du Plessis, Marius de Waal, and Dean Gerhard Lubbe of the Stellenbosch Faculty of Law, who provided gracious hospitality, excellent arrangements and an ideal venue for discussion of this subject. This conference led to an exceptional exchange of ideas about the challenges faced by mixed legal systems in Africa and beyond. It brought together thirty four scholars from twelve countries. The papers now presented look at mixed systems from angles and viewpoints that tend to illuminate their particular experience. They discuss such themes as the divergent and convergent trends of mixed systems in Southern Africa, the effect that the compartmentalization of personal laws has on everyday life, the challenges confronted in harmonizing business laws into effective instruments (bridging languages and the formal/informal sector of the economy), and the need to harmonize conflicting procedural laws in the courts and the arbitral tribunals. Another subject is the significance of European Union harmonization projects, notably the Draft Common Frame of Reference, on systems outside Europe, with particular reference to Africa. Further topics are the impact and role of national constitutions in reshaping these mixed systems, for example in the quest to integrate customary law and English common law into a single Common Law or in restructuring state liability in South Africa.

The essays close with the personal reflections of a distinguished comparatist, based on a lifetime of experience with African law, concerning the encounter between traditional law and modem law in the mixed systems of French-speaking Africa.

The Editor extends warm thanks to our hosts in Stellenbosch, to the sponsoring organizations, and to the individual authors for their cooperation in making this issue a success.

The articles include:
  • Charles Manga Fombad, 'Mixed Systems in Southern Africa: Divergences and Convergences'
  • Chuma Himonga, 'State and Individual Perspectives of a Mixed Legal System in Southern African Contexts with Special Reference to Personal Law'
  • ES Nwauche, 'The Constitutional Challenge of the Integration and Interaction of Customary and the Received English Common Law in Nigeria and Ghana'
  • Christa Roodt, 'Conflicts of Procedure Between Courts and Arbitral Tribunals in Africa: An Argument for Harmonization'
  • Claire Moore Dickerson, 'OHADA on the Ground: Harmonizing Business Laws in Three Dimensions'
  • Martha Simo Tumnde, 'Harmonization of Business Law in Cameroon: Issues, Challenges and Prospects'
  • Francois Du Bois, 'State Liability in South Africa: A Constitutional Remix'
  • Hector L MacQueen, 'The Common Frame of Reference in Europe'
  • Xavier Blanc-Jouvan, 'The Encounter Between Traditional Law and Modern Law in French-Speaking Africa: A Personal Reflection'