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Legal Transplants: An Approach To Comparative Law Alan Watson

Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law Alan Watson

Legal transplants are the phenomenon of borrowing or adopting legal rules, institutions, or concepts from one legal system to another. The term was coined by Alan Watson, one of the world's foremost authorities on legal history and comparative law, in his influential book Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law, first published in 1974 and revised in 1993.

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In his book, Watson challenges the long-prevailing notion that a close connection exists between the law and the society in which it operates. He argues that a society's laws do not usually develop as a logical outgrowth of its own experience. Instead, he contends, the laws of one society are primarily borrowed from other societies; therefore, most law operates in a society very different from the one for which it was originally created.

Watson illustrates his argument with examples ranging from the ancient Near East, ancient Rome, early modern Europe, Puritan New England, and modern New Zealand. He shows how legal transplants have occurred throughout history, often due to political, economic, or cultural influences, and sometimes without any conscious awareness or intention by the recipients. He also examines the factors that affect the success or failure of legal transplants, such as the degree of similarity or difference between the donor and recipient legal systems, the authority and legitimacy of the sources of law, and the social acceptance and adaptation of the borrowed rules.

Watson's book has sparked both praise and criticism from scholars and practitioners of law. Some have applauded his original and provocative thesis, his extensive use of primary sources, and his clear and concise style. Others have questioned his empirical evidence, his theoretical framework, and his normative implications. Some have also accused him of neglecting the role of social context, legal culture, and legal ideology in shaping the law.

Regardless of the controversies, Watson's book has had a significant impact on the field of comparative law and legal history. It has inspired further research and debate on the nature, causes, and consequences of legal transplants. It has also challenged lawyers and judges to rethink their assumptions and expectations about the law and its relationship to society.


  • [Legal Transplants : An Approach to Comparative Law - Google Books]

  • [Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law: Watson, Alan ...]

  • ["Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Literature (2nd edition ...]


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