Comparative Law is an academic discipline that entails the comparison of different legal systems, including their constitutive elements. To narrow down, comparative law involves the study of legal systems that exist in the world, including canon law, Islamic law, Hindu law, socialist law, Chinese law, civil law and common law. Montesquieu is regarded as an early founding figure of comparative law due to his comparative approach in chapter III and IX of Book I of his masterpiece. However, Sir Henry Maine, a British jurist and legal historian, is considered the modern founding father of comparative law. In 1861, Sir Henry discussed the connection of ancient law with the early history of society and how it is related to modern ideas in his book, Ancient Law. He discussed comparatively on Eastern and Western legal traditions.
The University of Oxford premiered in establishing comparative law as a course which was taught by Professor Henry Maine. Over the years, internationalism, democratization and economic globalization have increased the importance of comparative law. Several disciplines have distinguished the study into different branches, including comparative administrative law, comparative civil law, comparative constitutional law, comparative criminal law and comparative commercial law. By studying about comparative law, learners are able to understand the existing legal systems. They are also able to improve the legal systems and encourage unification of the same.
About Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law and the former Dean of Berkeley Law. Sujit Choudhry is internationally recognized for his expertise in comparative law and comparative constitutional development. He is an alumnus of Harvard University, University of Toronto, and Oxford University where he graduated with his degrees in law. He worked for Chief Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada as a law clerk. He was Cecilia Goetz Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law. Sujit also served as the Scholl Chair at the Faculty of Law in the University of Toronto.
Sujit Choudhry’s research focuses on basic methodological questions in comparative constitutional law. He has published over 90 articles, working papers, reports and book chapters. Some of his edited collections include The Migration of Constitutional Ideas 2006, The Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law, and The Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation. Sujit Choudhry is the founder of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, the first university-based center in the world that teaches constitutional building. Choudhry has worked as a foreign constitutional expert to support constitutional transitions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Libya among others. He sits on the boards of several organizations, including the editorial board of the Constitutional Court Review in South Africa. See constitutionaltransitions.com related article.