Import and Export of Legal Models: The Dutch Experience

Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 13, pp. 551-574, 2003

24 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2005 Last revised: 17 Aug 2010

See all articles by Jan M. Smits

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI)

Abstract

The phenomenon of 'legal transplants' is generally considered as one of the major subjects of modern comparative law. Ever since Alan Watson published his famous book on the topic, academics have been intrigued by import and export of law. This paper adds an empirical component to existing theories on legal transplants by providing an overview of Dutch efforts in law reform in Central and Eastern Europe. The position of the Netherlands is interesting since the two reasons for the export and import of law, namely imposition, that is mere force exercised by the exporting country, and the persuasive authority of a legal system or its rules, have both served as a means for the migration of Dutch law. The paper puts forward the thesis that smaller countries, such as the Netherlands, are in a better position to export their law to promote the rule of law or a market economy than countries that play the 'politics of power.' This is to some extent confirmed by the experience in Central and Eastern Europe, where Dutch legal advice played an important role in shaping a more market economy-oriented legal system.

Keywords: Law reform, Legal Transplants, Central and Eastern Europe, Migration of Dutch law

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Smits, Jan M., Import and Export of Legal Models: The Dutch Experience. Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 13, pp. 551-574, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=795184

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.jansmits.eu

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