18 October 2012

NOTICE: Comparative Law on SSRN (by way of the Irish Society of Comparative Law)

Additional articles from SSRN have been noted by our friend in the Irish Society of Comparative Law:

Dodson, Scott, Presuit Discovery in a Comparative Context (2012). Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 6, 2012.
In civil litigation around the globe, the usual process is that investigative discovery is allowed (if at all) only after the plaintiff files an initial pleading. Recently, however, a growing number of jurisdictions have adopted general mechanisms for presuit investigative discovery. This paper explores these mechanisms and probes their nature and importance. It first finds that presuit investigative discovery is surprisingly prevalent among common-law systems, despite the usual order of pleading and discovery. The paper then argues that presuit investigative discovery can provide a useful tool for enabling plaintiffs to file a sufficient complaint in fact-pleading jurisdictions. Finally, the paper suggests that the US federal system, as its pleading system moves closer to the fact-pleading regime typical of the rest of the world, ought to look to foreign mechanisms of presuit investigative discovery as a model for its own reform.

Engle, Karen, Comparative Constitutional Law and Property: Responses to Alviar and Azuela (2011). Texas Law Review, Vol. 89, No. 7, 2011.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to comment on two very rich and provocative articles: Property in the Post-post-revolution: Notes on the Crisis of the Constitutional Idea of Property in Contemporary Mexico by Antonio Azuela and The Unending Quest for Land: The Tale of Broken Constitutional Promises by Helena Alviar García. Both articles offer historical and contemporary accounts of the role of the social function of property in the constitutional framework of the countries they study (Mexico for Azuela and Colombia for Alviar).

I begin this Commentary with a few general thoughts on comparative method, and then engage in a comparison of the articles by discussing three issues they raise. In particular, I consider the tension between individual property rights and social function examined in each article, the possibilities the authors imagine for collective rights and conservation within the property rights regimes they examine, and the views about the role of law the articles express.

Smith, Stephen A., Comparative Legal Scholarship as Ordinary Legal Scholarship (October 10, 2012).

This essay argues that comparative law is not and never will be a distinctive academic discipline. Various counter-arguments based on the alleged distinctiveness of comparative law’s (1) subject-matter, (2) methodology, (3) challenges, and (4) aims are identified and rejected. The essay concludes by arguing that comparative scholars should embrace the ordinariness of their scholarship. To the extent that comparative law is associated with a particular subject-matter, method, challenge, or aim its value will always be a matter for debate. By contrast, if comparative scholarship is just ordinary scholarship with more data (as I argue), its value is undeniable. 

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