Table of Contents

Methods of Comparative Law

Methods of Comparative Law

Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by Pier Giuseppe Monateri

Methods of Comparative Law brings to bear new thinking on topics including: the mutual relationship between space and law; the plot that structures legal narratives, identities and judicial interpretations; a strategic approach to legal decision making; and the inner potentialities of the ‘comparative law and economics’ approach to the field. Together, the contributors reassess the scientific understanding of comparative methodologies in the field of law in order to provide both critical insights into the traditional literature and an original overview of the most recent and purposive trends.

Chapter 3: Method?

Simone Glanert

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law


Simone Glanert Method is a digression.1 It is hardly an exaggeration to think of method as a disciplinary hallmark. No discipline, it seems, can lay claim to intellectual respectability unless it features an accredited method. But comparative law seems unusual in as much as it is often reduced to a method – and this, by comparatists themselves for whom comparative law would be a strictly methodological endeavour. In a remark made on the occasion of a debate at the 1900 international conference on comparative law in Paris, Frederick Pollock thus defended the view that ‘comparative law … is but the introduction of the comparative method into law’.2 In effect, it is argued that ‘[t]he method called [c]omparative [l]aw can be used for a variety of practical or scholarly purposes’.3 Along converging lines, it is said that ‘the method of comparative law’ is ‘not only … a method of thinking … but also a method of working’.4 Some comparatists approach the matter in the broadest terms and conceive of comparative law as a ‘cognitive method’.5 In the words of a leading British academic, for example, ‘“[c]omparative [l]aw” denotes a method of study and research’.6 Other authors draw a more specific connection between method and scientificity. They point to the fact that ‘[c]omparative law … is the comparative method as applied to the domain of legal Benjamin, Walter, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne. New York: Verso, 1998: 28 [‘Methode ist Umweg’] (1925). 2 Pollock, Frederick,...

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