Why Legal Transplants

Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 2019. 15:10.1–10.19

Posted: 19 Jul 2019

See all articles by Toby S. Goldbach

Toby S. Goldbach

University of British Columbia, Allard School of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2019


In examining how laws and legal institutions move across jurisdictions, comparative law scholars have employed the metaphor of a legal transplant to conceptualize both the hazards and benefits of taking in another legal system’s rules. As law and society scholars become increasingly interested in the international domain, they will naturally seek out disciplines that have grappled with issues of law and culture, diffusion of governance structures, and the social processes involved in transnational lawmaking.We can thus learn a great deal from the rich literature on legal transplants. However, we should also be wary of its anemic examination of relations of power and strive to employ empirical methods to measure the social forces and factors involved. This article gives an historical overview of the key developments and debates within the legal transplant literature and suggests new directions for further research intended for a sociology of the movement of law.

Keywords: legal transplants, law reform, law and culture, development, law and politics, social processes

JEL Classification: F54, F63, K00, O16, O20

Suggested Citation

Goldbach, Toby Susan, Why Legal Transplants (May 29, 2019). Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 2019. 15:10.1–10.19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3415220

Toby Susan Goldbach (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia, Allard School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://allard.ubc.ca/about-us/our-people/toby-goldbach

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