The Argumentative Status of Foreign Legal Arguments

12 Pages Posted: 18 May 2012

See all articles by John Bell

John Bell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 10, 2012


This paper argues that the citation of foreign legal sources in judicial decisions is not essentially a free-standing justification. Rather it gives additional support to arguments that can be based on existing domestic legal sources by showing that these illustrate a principle or value shared by a number of other legal systems. Legal development does not work simply by reformulating the rules by borrowing words or rules from other jurisdictions. Law develops by re-interpreting existing principles and rules in the current context of the legal system as a whole. The article draws on the work of Markesinis and Waldron and on the European Legal Development project which the author led with Professor David Ibbetson.

Keywords: legal reasoning, comparative law, citation of foreign judgments, legal development

Suggested Citation

Bell, John S., The Argumentative Status of Foreign Legal Arguments (May 10, 2012). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 8-19, 2012, Available at SSRN:

John S. Bell (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics