Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 48: Mixed jurisdictions*

Vernon Valentine Palmer


‘Mixed jurisdictions’ as they are classically called, make up roughly 16 political entities, of which 12 are independent countries. Most (excluding Scotland and Israel) of these are the former colonial possessions of France, the Netherlands or Spain which were subsequently transferred to Great Britain or the United States. Their inelegant name is basically an accident of history. Legal cartographers during the height of the British empire were unable to fit these entities into the civil law or common law mould which dominated their thinking, and hence they simply called them mixed or hybrid to indicate their otherness (Reid, 2003–4, pp. 8–9). Though comparative law classification schemes have long since been improved and expanded, the group continues to be referred to by this name, in part because of tradition and convenience, and in part owing to the unique traits (see below, characteristic features) which distinguish them from other systems. The sources of law in the mixed jurisdictions are far from uniform and the differences shape the styles of individual systems. The French group (e.g., Quebec, Louisiana, Mauritius) is characterized by the influence of the Code Napoleon and thus possesses civil law in a codified form which is thought to be more highly resistant to common law penetration than the uncodified mixed systems.

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