Law and Economics for Civil Law Systems

Law and Economics for Civil Law Systems

Ejan Mackaay

Ejan Mackaay offers a comprehensive look at the essential points of economic reasoning, the Coase Theorem, and legal institutions such as intellectual property, extra-contractual civil liability and contracts. The book’s structure mirrors the way law is taught in civil law countries, with structured presentations, references to civil code articles paired with non-technical explanations, and limited reliance on graphs. This English-language version builds on the success of the author’s 2008 French-language textbook on law and economics from a civil law perspective.

Introduction

Ejan Mackaay

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, law and economics

Extract

It is a fundamental principle with the English Lawyers, that Parliament can do every thing, except making a Woman a Man, or a Man a Woman’ de Lolme wrote in 1771.1 He meant to express the supremacy of the English Parliament. Two centuries on, medical science has advanced on making a Woman a Man, or a Man a Woman, and the power of Parliament is no longer considered as absolute as it then looked, but is limited by fundamental rights defined in constitutions, charters and international conventions that the courts have the power to apply against acts of Parliament. But de Lolme’s saying lends itself to a different reading as well: law can do everything. To bring about any desired social effect, on this view, it suffices to legislate it. To judge by the staggering pace at which legislation is being produced these days, modern governments appear to draw their inspiration from this second reading. A positivist approach to law handily complements this line of thinking. Yet the very fact that such massive amounts of legislation appear to be necessary suggests that citizens are not playing the game; that law cannot produce every effect considered desirable.