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Comparative Law

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Part of Law in Context

  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from August 2018
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521177177

$ 54.99 (X)

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About the Authors
  • This book presents a fresh contextualised and cosmopolitan perspective on comparative law for both students and scholars. It critically discusses established approaches to comparative law, but also presents more modern ones, such as socio-legal and numerical comparative law. Its contextualised approach draws on examples from politics, economics and development studies to provide an original contribution to topics of comparative law.

    • Treatment of both traditional and modern methods of comparative law
    • Practical examples to illustrate how the subject can be applied
    • Examples from various legal systems give global perspective
    • Online supplement, available at
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Comparative law has transformed into a challenging and interdisciplinary field with a long intellectual history. Mathias Siems’ welcomed addition to the field offers a stimulating and thoughtful introduction to a new kind of comparative law which is contextualised and cosmopolitan as to its nature. The book offers an insightful overview of key issues arising in the comparative study of law today. Siems skilfully deals with established approaches, but also provides cutting-edge views to socio-legal and statistical approaches as well as providing examples from politics, economics and development studies. The work by Siems is a concise synthesis and it is bound to enlighten and provoke its readers. This well-composed book makes wonderful reading for both students and scholars."
    Jaakko Husa, University of Lapland

    "A thoroughly researched and clearly written book, which sums up the many developments comparative law has taken since 1971 when Zweigert and Kötz became the authoritative textbook. Siems explains how cultural turn, discourse analysis, socio-legal studies, economic or numerical analysis of the law, or the dynamics of regionalisation and globalisation are shaping comparative law today, and predicts that 'implicit comparative law' will increasingly be affected by comparisons in other social sciences with an interest in law. With many illustrations, diagrams and examples, Siems presents a reader-friendly account of the past and present, and a vision of the future of comparative law."
    Gerhard Dannemann, Humboldt University of Berlin

    "Siems provides a modern, interdisciplinary approach to comparative law. For him, comparative law involves more than examining similarities and differences in legal rules and outcomes. Examining comparative research over the last 40 years, he gives a critical analysis of what comparative study can achieve and suggests a sophisticated range of methods in which it can be undertaken. Refreshingly clear in its style, this book challenges comparative lawyers to play a central part in understanding the place of law in contemporary, complex and interconnected societies. It is an ideal starting point for anyone considering research in comparative law."
    John Bell, University of Cambridge

    "The purpose of [this book], as stated in its Preface and on its back cover, is to present a fresh contextualized and cosmopolitan perspective on comparative law, targeted at a wide audience composed of students, scholars and 'others'. The author … is eminently qualified for the task … I like the book and find it stimulating and thought-provoking in more than one way. It provides rewarding reading for legal scholars, including those who normally do not engage in comparative law research. It can be of use for students taking in-depth elective courses on comparative law or writing diploma papers with [a] focus on comparative law. The book is of high quality, not only regarding its contents but also from [a] pedagogical point of view …"
    Michael Bogdan, Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht

    "How to compare oranges with apples? This is the central methodological issue that informs [this book] … The author's objective is not to analyse the applicable laws of oranges and apples nor to find similarities or differences between them, but rather to explore what [the available tools are] to the present-day comparative lawyer in order to analyse the similarities and differences between them. From this perspective, the author reviews comparative law research as conducted over the past few decades and provides students and scholars alike with a new and comprehensive vision of what comparative law research could and should be today … This work … provides a very interesting, well-written, and accessible state-of-the-art perspective on comparative law methodology."
    Barbara Pozzo, European Review of Private Law

    "Siems delivers … a comprehensive state-of-the-art volume addressing the theoretical debates that have animated the scene in recent decades … We are in [the] presence of a readable tour de force, a fair account of the various currents and schools of thought in the field … This is a hybrid volume, textbook and research book at the same time … It enriches the debate in its own right by setting out diverse approaches to comparative law."
    Emma Patrignani, The Journal of Comparative Law

    "Siems has graced the world of comparativists with a most comprehensive, holistic, and analytical account of the discipline in the last few years … It is a promising start to a new approach to comparative law, which is persuasive and well argued. This is a book necessary for academics and researchers in comparative law, which I fully expect to last the test of scrutiny and time."
    Helen Xanthaki, European Journal of Law Reform

    "This book brings comparative law from its present conventional status in legal scholarship to the centre of attention by relying on some innovative techniques and presenting some fresh angles. More importantly, it moves the whole of comparative law scholarship one step further, not only as a subject or discipline but also as a concrete methodology (instead of a method of study) and a tool for legal construction (or deconstruction). The current book is no doubt one of the first tiered comparative law books showing comparatists, scholars, and students how the subject can be further developed over the long term …"
    Wei Shen, Asian Journal of Comparative Law

    "… each section follows a rigorous structure in which the topic is first explained in general terms, before the various issues and the main authors are discussed in detail, and a brief critical assessment is made of the contribution and limits of each approach for comparative law research. This succeeds in providing a highly readable and comprehensive narrative across the different methods. Illustrations are drawn from a variety of Western and non-Western countries, from diverse areas of the law and concerning diverse legal issues … The overall impact then of this book is that it is provocative, exhorting a diverse audience of seasoned scholars, students, policymakers, and legal practitioners to become reflexive and to design their own methods so that they can justify their uses of comparative law to answer research questions. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read, providing a profusion of refreshing ideas!"
    Yseult Marique, Edinburgh Law Review

    'This book presents a fresh contextualized and cosmopolitan perspective on comparative law for both students and scholars. It critically discusses established approaches to comparative law, but also presents more modern ones, such as socio-legal and numerical comparative law. Its contextualized approach draws on examples from politics, economics, and development studies to provide an original contribution to topics of comparative law.' Hans-W. Micklitz, Journal of Consumer Policy

    'In Comparative Law, Mathias Siems has produced a wide-ranging yet succinct and crisply written introduction to the field of comparative law. The glossy photos of apples and oranges on the book’s cover communicate two insights that are woven throughout the volume. First, law - like fruit - invites comparison, explicit or implicit, in order to be thoroughly appreciated and perfected. Second, comparative analysis will fail, at some level, to capture fully the unique, distinctive, and incomparable features of any given legal problem, culture, institution, or case. Siems digests mountains of pedagogical and scholarly materials written from many different cultural, historical, linguistic, and disciplinary perspectives, and manages to do so in an elegant, nuanced, and contextualized manner. The book will be a valuable resource for twenty-first-century students and scholars, particularly those who are new to comparative law. …’ Julie C. Suk, American Journal of Comparative Law

    '[T]he conventional forum of scholarly discussion about comparative law is found in handbooks - even these days, when journal articles have been starting to gain more and more relevance. …This tradition is continued by Mathias Siems, Professor at Durham University, whose book entitled Comparative Law was published in the first half of 2014 in Cambridge. Readers can tell at first glance that the book is the result of comprehensive scholarly research … the volume is very rich in ideas and provides an in-depth examination of several subjects … The author’s thought process, style and the content - the encyclopedic richness of Siems’ work - could serve an important role for those who are receptive to the comparative aspect of a given legal problem.' Balazs Fekete, The Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521177177
    • length: 436 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 174 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.88kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from August 2018
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Traditional Comparative Law:
    2. The comparative legal method
    3. Common law and civil law
    4. Mapping the world's legal systems
    Part II. Extending the Methods of Comparative Law:
    5. Postmodern comparative law
    6. Socio-legal comparative law
    7. Numerical comparative law
    Part III. Global Comparative Law:
    8. Legal transplants
    9. Fading state borders
    10. Comparative law and development
    Part IV. Comparative Law as an Open Subject:
    11. Implicit comparative law
    12. Outlook.

  • Resources for

    Comparative Law

    Mathias Siems

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  • Author

    Mathias Siems, University of Durham
    Mathias Siems is Professor of Commercial Law at Durham University.

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