The historical concept of Comparative Law dated back to the 18th Century in Europe, even before this time, renowned legal jurists were already practicing comparative methodologies. It was during or just before this period that the work of French jurist, Montesquieu, came into prominence and was duly regarded as the early founder of Comparative Law following the publishing of his book De l’espirit des lois, which turns out to be a masterpiece.
What is Comparative Law?
As the name implies, Comparative Law refers to a legal method of comparing two or more different legal systems. It denotes the study of similarities and differences inherent in the laws of different countries. The comparison is achieved by critically studying the different legal systems in existence across the world, such as the English Common Law, the French Civil Law, the Chinese Law, Jewish Law, Canon Law, Socialist Law, Islamic Law, and the Hindu Law. Comparative Law involves the description and in-depth analysis of foreign legal systems, which produces positive results relating to the cultural differences in the various legal systems being analyzed.
Comparative Law in Contemporary Time
The present day study of Comparative jurisprudence can first be attributed to British jurist, Sir Henry Maine, in the aftermath of his work; Ancient Laws, which lays the frame work for the development of legal systems in primitive societies by engaging critically in comparative discussions to that effect.
Today, Comparative Law (through the works of eminent legal jurists like Sujit Choudhry) gives a better understanding of foreign legal systems, especially in this era of globalisation and complexity that underlines international public and private laws. It creates an avenue for the harmonization and unification of laws, leading to better and healthier cooperation among international states and non-states actors–all living in a common global order.
The modern Epistle of Comparative Law will not be complete without a mention of one of its greatest Apostle—Sujit Choudhry! Choudhry is constitutional lawyer, the founder and Director of Faculty at the Centre for Constitutional Transitions–the first University-based center in the world to generate and mobilised legal knowledge for constitutional development. Dean Choudhry is an internationally renowned authority on comparative constitutional Law and development. He attended the University of Oxford from 1992-1994, and was awarded Bachelor of Arts in Law. In 1996, Sujit Choudhry was awarded Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree by the University of Toronto, and in 1998; he was awarded Master of Laws (LL.M) at Harvard Law School, United States.
Professor Choudhry’s legal research encompasses a wide range of issues that centres in Comparative Constitutional Law, which advocate constitutional design as a decisive tool to undertake and manage the transition from violent conflicts to peaceful and cordial political democracy. That is, constitutional designs that cover all forms of ethnically divided societies, decentralization, federalism, presidentialism, constitutional courts, bills of rights, minority and group rights, security sector oversight, methodology and comparative constitutionality.
According to blogs.law.nyu.edu,Professor Sujit Choudhry’s vast experience in serving as advisor to the constitutional building process span places such as Ukraine, Egypt, Nepal, South Africa, Jordan, Tunisia, and some others. Choudhry has written and published lots of articles, book chapters, reports and papers, well over seventy. One of Choudhry’s edited collections tagged Constitutional Design for Divided Societies, is a top seller on Amazon. Presently, he is an Executive member of the International Society of Public Law, a member of the UN Mediation Roster, and dozens of other legal groups, societies and position being held by Choudhry.
No doubt, Professor Sujit Choudhry is worth a place in the history books of Comparative Law.