Importance of Comparative Law

Comparative law is defined as the study of the different legal systems that exist. It involves comparing various legal systems and understanding how they can be unified. It is more than a century now since Montesquieu introduced the comparative law. The branches of comparative law include comparative administrative law, comparative civil law, comparative commercial law, comparative criminal law, and comparative constitutional law. Comparative law has been able to gain lots of importance in the current era of democratization, internationalism, and economic globalization. Legal scholars were still practicing comparative methodologies before the introduction of the comparative law.


The comparative law also involves the description and scrutiny of foreign legal systems. Some of the different legal systems that are studied in comparative law include:

  • Civil law
  • Common law
  • Chinese law
  • Hindu law
  • Socialist law
  • Canon law
  • Islamic law
  • Jewish law


Sir Henry Maine is referred to as the person who founded modern comparative law. Maine is a legal historian and a British jurist. His work was able to place the comparative law in historical context, and it became influential and widely read. The University of Oxford became the first ever university to take up comparative law and offer it as a subject in 1869. Sir Henry Maine became a comparative law professor at the University. The comparative law was taken to the US by Rudolf Schlesinger who was a legal scholar. Rudolf went to the US because he was fleeing persecution while in Germany. He became a professor at the Cornell Law School where he taught comparative law after going to the US.  See this page.


The main aim of the comparative law is to unify legal systems that exist in the world. The majority of universities from all parts of the world now offer comparative law as a unit subject. Legal scholars have also been studying the law in depth so as to have a better understanding of it.


Sujit Choudhry is a professor of law. He is the Faculty Director and also the founder of the Center for Constitutional Transitions. Sujit Choudhry writes on constitutional design as a means of managing the change from brutal conflict to nonviolent democratic politics. He has been able to edit several collections including the Migration of Constitutional Ideas and Constitutional Design for Divided Societies. Sujit sits on the Board of Advisers at the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law. Sujit Choudhry is also an Editorial Board member of the South Africa’s Constitutional Court Review.

Read related blogs on his page.


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