Comparing Contracts Through a Socio-Legal Approach: Case Study of Ukraine
Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 8(1), 2013, 146-171
30 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2014
Date Written: June 4, 2013
For decades comparative law scholarship has emphasized the need to move beyond the “law as rules” approach of traditional legal doctrine towards the studies of law within broad societal context. Nevertheless, empirical studies in the field of comparative law of contracts remain uncommon. This article presents the findings of an ethnographic case study of the contractual practices of three Ukrainian companies and analyses them in a comparative perspective.
However uncommon research may be on contractual practices during the post-Soviet transition, it is an acknowledged fact that most businesses in this environment use written contracts. This article examines various characteristics of formal contracts and their socio-legal functions. It demonstrates that an understanding of the “non-legal” functions of contracts unravels the rationale behind the seemingly wasteful efforts at signing contracts when legal enforcement would be pointless. The study concludes by contrasting the reasons for contracting in written form in the west and in Ukraine.
Keywords: commercial contracts, socio-legal approach, contract law, post-Soviet, Ukraine
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