26 September 2011


The Second European Society for Comparative Legal History Conference will be held in Amsterdam from 9-10 July 2012. The theme is:

Definitions and Challenges

Call for papers

Comparative Legal History is a relatively young discipline. It focuses explicitly on the comparison of legal ideas and legal institutions in divergent legal traditions. The European Society for Comparative Legal History (ESCLH) was founded in 2009 in order to promote such comparison. Its Inaugural Conference (Valencia, 5-6 July 2010) showed that it is not always easy to find material which is suitable for serious comparison and to establish the criteria which have to be met in order to come to grips with this material.

The Second ESCLH Conference, which will take place on 9-10 July 2012 at Amsterdam and will be hosted by the VU University, aims at addressing this fundamental problem. Under the heading “Definitions and Challenges” it will try to delineate the landmarks which fruitful legal historical comparison requires and to trace the specific problems that a comparative-historical approach of the various branches of law may encounter. The keynote address will be delivered by David Ibbetson, Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University of Cambridge.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Second issue of Scientia Juris (Metz Law School Journal)

Legal Maxims in the 21st Century – Law in Books or Law in Action?

“Hence, in all civilized nations, we always witness the formation, alongside the temple of enacted laws under the legislator’s supervision, of a repository of maxims, decisions, and doctrinal writings which is daily refined by the practitioners and their clashing debates in court, which steadily grows as all acquired knowledge is added to it, and which has always been regarded as the true supplement of legislation”.
- Translation of J.-E.-M. Portalis in Alain Levasseur, ‘Code Napoleon or Code Portalis?’ (1968) 43 Tulane Law Review 762, 769-70.

This famous quotation of Portalis expresses in a brilliant phrase that statutes are not the only sources of law and that alongside them are maxims or adages, as well as judge-made law and doctrine.