The enterprise of comparative law is familiar, yet its conceptual whereabouts remain somewhat obscure. Comparing Law: Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments reconstructs comparative law scholarship into a systematic account of comparative law as an autonomous academic discipline. The point of that discipline is neither to harmonize world law, nor to emphasize its cultural diversity, but rather to understand each legal system on its own terms. As the proposed reconstruction exercise involves bridging comparative law and contemporary legal theory, it shows how comparative law and legal theory both stand to benefit from being exposed to each other. At a time when many courses are adding a transnational perspective, Valcke offers a more theoretical, broadened, and refreshed view of comparative law.
Catherine Valcke is Full Professor, Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. She has taught, lectured and published on comparative law, comparative law theory and legal theory worldwide, including in such journals as Nomos, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Yale Journal of International Law, European Review of Private Law, and Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. Her work on English and French contract law, in particular, was recently cited as 'illuminating' by the English House of Lords. An elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, she has acted as National Reporter for Canada to the Congress of the Academy.
Prologue: the 'malaise' of comparative law; 1. Law; 2. Legal systems; 3. Engaging with legal systems - epistemology; 4. Delineating legal systems - geography; 5. Comparing legal systems - methodology; Epilogue: the 'academic discipline' of comparative law.