The Perils of Comparative Law Research

19 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2015 Last revised: 26 Apr 2015

Date Written: March 3, 2015

Abstract

This article is part of a festschrift in honor of Michele Taruffo’s remarkable career, and the astonishing erudition reflected in his wide ranging and significant corpus. One criticism is advanced, to-wit that he has too readily accepted as true the persistent rhetoric to the effect that the American adversarial system does not pursue accuracy in adjudication and is dominated by a sporting model in which the stronger and smarter wins regardless of truth and that Continental legal systems are much more geared toward truth determination. This rhetoric is examined and found to rest on striking mischaracterizations of both approaches to litigation. A more accurate, although quite general, description of both approaches is provided that suggests the rhetoric has it exactly backwards. Suggestive data concerning American and Continental legal systems are presented that directly conflict with the rhetoric. In addition, the obvious prediction is that accurate and efficient legal systems should lead to economic growth and innovation. Some suggestive data is presented, which shows that since 1980 the United States has dominated France, Germany, Spain, and Italy in both regards, tending to disconfirm the comparative effectiveness of the European legal systems. Compounding variables are mentioned, and hence the title, “The Perils of Comparative Law Research.”

Keywords: Comparative law and procedure, legal practice, legal systems, litigation, courts, evidence, truth, fact-finding

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Allen, Ronald Jay, The Perils of Comparative Law Research (March 3, 2015). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 15-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2573296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2573296

Ronald Jay Allen (Contact Author)

Northwestern University Law School ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8372 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
128
Abstract Views
763
rank
222,228
PlumX Metrics