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Legal Innovations in Asia

Legal Innovations in Asia

Judicial Lawmaking and the Influence of Comparative Law

Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series

Edited by John O. Haley and Toshiko Takenaka

Legal Innovations in Asia explores how law in Asia has developed over time as a result of judicial interpretation and innovations drawn from the legal systems of foreign countries. Expert scholars from around the world offer a history of law in the region while also providing a wider context for present-day Asian law. The contributors share insightful perspectives on comparative law, the role of courts, legal transplants, intellectual property, Islamic law and other issues as they relate to the practice and study of law in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Chapter 1.3: The Asian Law Center: An evolution

Jon Eddy

Subjects: law - academic, asian law, comparative law


What role can or should a center for the comparative study of Asian legal systems play in the present day? More than 50 years ago, the University of Washington School of Law became a leader in establishing such studies. An initial Japanese law program quickly expanded to include other corners of Northeast Asia and in time areas well beyond. In this short chapter, I wish to examine the evolution of the Asian Law Center as it may shed light upon the contributions such a center can make to legal scholarship as the world becomes increasingly globalized. In January 2010, I was asked to step in as Director of the Asian Law Center. It was a period of great stress, for American higher education, the University of Washington, the School of Law, and particularly for the Asian Law Center. On the positive side, the Center was nearing its 50th anniversary, an accomplishment in a world when centers often come and go in a single budget cycle. The Center’s founding Director, Dan Fenno Henderson, and his illustrious successor, John O. Haley, played seminal roles in defining the study of the Japanese legal system. My immediate predecessor, Veronica Taylor, had added promising young faculty members, and continued to widen the geographic scope of the Center beyond Northeast Asia. Notably, in a time of very constrained resources, she had successfully brought significant federal grant funds to the Center, a development which has continued to grow in strength.

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