Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Pier Giuseppe Monateri
Chapter 8: All that Heaven Allows: Are Transnational Codes a ‘Scientific Truth’ or Are They Just a Form of Elegant ‘Pastiche’?
JOBNAME: Monateri PAGE: 3 SESS: 9 OUTPUT: Mon May 28 12:22:31 2012 8. All that heaven allows: are transnational codes a ‘scientiﬁc truth’ or are they just a form of elegant ‘pastiche’? Geoffrey Samuel* A group of jurists from different European national legal systems, all contract specialists, come together and over the following months produce a code designed to act as the basis for a common and harmonised law of contract for the various nationalities involved. The same process is repeated in a range of other legal areas. Is the existence of these codes, as physical texts, evidence in itself of a particular ‘truth’, namely that legal systems of Europe are converging? Or is it evidence only of what a humanities specialist might call ‘pastiche as combination’? Indeed might it be a question of nostalgic pastiche? These are the questions that will be investigated in this chapter. 1. INTRODUCTION In a recent essay on the state of comparative law in France the author, a French comparative lawyer, asserts that ‘it is impossible to be both a comparatist and a good French lawyer’ and ‘it seems not only unrealistic but also counterproductive to insist that French comparatists become interdisciplinary specialists or social scientists’.1 A few lines earlier, the same author had asserted that the ‘Europeanization of law is already taking place and European legal systems are already converging’.2 Another comparatist has added that the question whether or not European legal systems are capable of being harmonised depends more...
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