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7/11/2008 1:32:05 PM EST
Civil Law & Mixed Jurisdictions: The LexisNexis Foreign Law Toolbox
We're not just US anymore!
Posted by Thomas J.R. Stadnik, Esq.
LexisNexis Legal Editor/Site Coordinator LexisNexis International & Foreign Law Center
For students of the law of all ages and lawyers faced with transactions involving foreign law in Civil Law or Mixed Jurisdictions perhaps for the first time, we at LexisNexis can provide you with fundamental tools and sources to enable you to grasp the concepts of non-common law based legal systems.
Welcome to the I&FLC Civil Law & Mixed Jurisdictions Toolbox!
Whether you’re an actual law student or a legal practitioner encountering or learning about this practice area for the first time, LexisNexis offers several works that can help the beginner in this field.
Why Learn about Civil Law and Mixed Jurisdictions?
This can be succinctly stated by considering the following two paragraphs from the "Fondation pour le Droit Continental" website:
"60% of world market subject to civil law
"Systems of civil (or Romano-Germanic) law, together with mixed systems drawing on civil law, account for approximately 60% of the world’s GDP. The figure for common law is 35%. The percentage of the world’s population governed by continental legal systems is exactly the same.
"The many advantages of civil law
"No system of law is intrinsically better than any other, but civil law has a number of strong points. It is accessible, having been largely consolidated into codes. It is based on preventing litigation and promoting certainty in transactions. It rests on rules known in advance, rather than rules identified by a judge, after the fact. Civil law is also characterized by its concern for balance between contracting parties, its flexibility, and its openness to all sources of law (European sources in particular). Lastly it is a relatively inexpensive system of law, in terms of both legal advice and litigation. Accordingly it enables parties to reduce the legal costs related to their transactions."
Foreign and Comparative Law Practice Notes: As an American lawyer, you are not permitted to practice “foreign” law (unless you are duly admitted to the practice of law in the jurisdiction in question, of course), but you may be faced with your client’s request of you for an opinion, formal or otherwise, about the laws and regulations of another jurisdiction that may impact their transaction in another country. You will need to select foreign local counsel and will likely want their legal opinion on various topics that you will refer to in your opinion (with the appropriate disclaimers that you are not admitted to practivce in the foreign jurisdiction, you are relying on local foreign counsel's opinion (a copy of which you should attach as an exhibit), etc. In order to go about selecting foreign local counsel and to have a meaningful discussion with that foreign counsel, it behooves you to have some understanding of how that jurisdiction’s laws work. You will find a useful summary of such laws in the Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest, but to gain a basic understanding and an analysis of how those laws work, we direct you to the following:
The Civil Law Tradition: Europe, Latin America, and East Asia, Cases and Materials, 1994
Author: John Henry Merryman, Sweitzer Professor of Law Emeritus, Stanford Law School; David S. Clark, Maynard and Bertha Wilson Professor of Law, Willamette University College of Law; John Owen Haley, Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law & Director of the Whitney Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies, Washington University at St. Louis School of Law
You may also find it useful to examine some of the following works for more particular analysis of the Civil law or mixed jurisdiction legal systems:
Louisiana Pocket Civil Code
Louisiana Law of Obligations in General: A Précis, Second Edition
Author: Alain Levasseur
Louisiana Law of Sale and Lease: A Précis
Author: Alain Levasseur and David Gruning
The University of Wyoming Law Library has posted re-scanned versions of Justice Blume’s English translation of Justinian’s Novels
in their Annotated Justinian Code web site
This new edition is much more legible than the first, which was scanned at very low resolution. The new edition has been edited so that all the chapters in each novel are now in their proper order.
In addition, the following material has been added to the website: 1) one table showing Code provisions affected by the novels; 2) another table, by novel, showing the Code provision it affects; 3) a Novel’s timeline; and 4) an article (which is to be published in this summer’s Law Library Journal) entitled “The Creation and Transmission of Justinian’s Novels.”
This is a great effort making the Novels and Justice Blume's materials available online.
The Louisiana Law Review
has published The English Fox in the Louisiana Civil Law Chausse- Trappe: Civil Law Concepts in the English Language; Comparativists Beware!
, 69 La Law Rev 715 (Summer 2009), an article, presented in the La. Law Rev. in English, based on an article by Professor Alain Levasseur
, published in French in the January 2009 issue of the Revue Internationale de Droit Comparé
(R.I.D.C.). The title of the Article in the R.I.D.C. is Les maux des mots en droit comparé
. Professor Levasseur felt that this Article would be of interest to Louisiana lawyers and legal scholars and he asked Vicenç Feliú
, because of Vicenç' background in Linguistics and the common law, to work with him in translating and redacting the original French article for publication in English.