Comparative law study important to a gobal economy

By Eugene Clark
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 28, 2012
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The comparative study of different legal systems has become increasingly important in an era of globalization and growing trade and other relationships among countries and the citizens of those countries. Comparative law study is especially important to China as the world's largest exporter and second largest importer.

Comparative law involves the study of the similarities and differences between legal systems (eg Chinese law and religious based systems such as Islamic law). It also includes an analysis of the laws of two different countries, for example Chinese law and US law. In other cases it can involve the study of a foreign legal system in its own right without express detailed comparisons being undertaken. While the field of comparative law is relatively new in some countries, such as the US, it has a long tradition in Europe.

The study of comparative law lays the foundation for the legal infrastructure that gradually builds bridges towards a common legal understanding that better supports the increasing range and degree of activity that occurs among nations, organizations and individuals in what has become a much more inter-connected world Comparative law study is vital to the growth of areas such as e-commerce where modern communications technology enables transactions to occur easily and frequently across jurisdictional boundaries and therefore involving the interaction of different legal systems.

It is important that China and other countries support the study of comparative law and legal systems. As China interacts with the rest of the world, we need a common legal architecture upon which to build an edifice of a successful common and prosperous future. This starts by promoting partnerships that improve our understanding and make each others' laws more accessible. Based on such study and understanding of our differences and similarities, we are able to build greater understanding leading to international agreements and even the creation of whole new international legal infrastructures, such as the WTO which China joined on September 11, 2001.

As legal systems go, each country has got to where it is in different ways and the legal system of any particular country reflects its own unique historical cultural, social, political and economic history. While it is important to be cautious in making comparisons between laws in different countries, such comparative work is nevertheless significant and useful as a way of helping 'outsiders' understand both their own system as well as the one under study. .

Through comparative law research we realise that law and the study of comparative law are not about a set of rules operating in isolation. Law is a system that is deeply intertwined with the culture, history, politics, economics, language, philosophy and all other aspects of the society in which a specific legal framework operates..

On a broader scale, comparative law study raises important questions about the appropriate degree of integration of legal systems and the need to balance global and country level perspectives, to preserve values while finding new ways forward. More than that, we need an ongoing dialogue that uses modern technology (Blogs, discussion groups, websites, databases, and all that more interactive web 2.0 has to offer) to create smaller groups that will continue the progress towards mutual understanding and the achievement of cooperative and positive outcomes.

The author is a columnist with For more information please visit:

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of


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