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The English Fox in the Louisiana Civil Law Chausse-Trappe: Civil Law Concepts in the English Language; Comparativists Beware!


Alain Levasseur


Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Vicenç Feliú


University of Washington

December 17, 2009

Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 69, pp. 715-747, 2009

Abstract:     
The Avant-Projet of the French Law Obligations and the French Law of Prescriptions, which we will cite as the Projet-Catala, is a monumental undertaking to modernize Parts III and IV of Book Three of the French Civil Code, “Obligations,” and to continue the work of Jean Carbonnier who demonstrated “in transfiguring the first Book” that it was possible to “rehabilitate” the Code of 1804 “without damaging its structure or form.” “The program mobilized thirty-four persons” under the sponsorship of the Association Henri Capitant and was presented in the form of a “Rapport à Monsieur le Garde des Sceaux” in September 2005. A few months later, this draft of the Projet-Catala was sent to several foreign comparative law scholars throughout the world for the dual purpose of translating it, if possible, into their national languages and, on that occasion, to contribute their comments, observations, and remarks as they considered appropriate, especially as regards incorporated into the French Civil Code, should it be approved by the French Parliament.
These foreign comparative law scholars were advised that, in fulfilling their tasks, the authors of the Preliminary Draft had not been motivated by any “plan to oppose that which is or anything of what should be the idea of the Civil Law” and that “the modernization of the Civil Code will continue as the hub of private law, the sturdy trunk of a tree whose branches can stretch out without losing their strength” so that the modern Civil Code becomes “the natural recourse of the judge faced with the silence of statutes and conventions, the pool of our legal reason.” The instructions received informed us that “the Projet-Catala does not propose a breaking of the Code, but an adjustment” and that “it (the Projet) is supportive of doctrine and jurisprudence.”

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Date posted: February 9, 2010 ; Last revised: April 10, 2010

Suggested Citation

Levasseur, Alain and Feliú, Vicenç, The English Fox in the Louisiana Civil Law Chausse-Trappe: Civil Law Concepts in the English Language; Comparativists Beware! (December 17, 2009). Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 69, pp. 715-747, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1525027

Contact Information

Alain Levasseur (Contact Author)
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ( email )
136 Atkinson
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States
Vicenç Feliú
University of Washington ( email )
NE Colombia Rd.
Seattle, WA 98195
United States
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