Esin Örücü on the Convergence of Legal Systems

Prof Esin Örücü via the University of Glasgow websiteThe Irish Society of Comparative Law (ISCL) was established in June 2008 to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems in Ireland. They will host a very exciting event tomorrow evening, 26 November 2009, when Professor Esin Örücü (left) of the School of Law, University of Glasgow will speak on the topic:

A Comparatist’s Analysis of the Convergence of Legal Systems.

The lecture will be held in Room 11 of the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin (map) from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Queries about the event or the society may be directed to the Vice President or the Secretary.

Prof Örücü is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law at both the University of Glasgow and Erasmus University in Rotterdam; she is a Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law; and she has been a towering figure in comparative legal scholarship for the last 30 years or more. Her recent book The Enigma of Comparative Law: Variations on a Theme for the Twenty-First Century (Martinus Nijhoff, 2004) – delivering on its musical sub-title in chapters successively headed Overture, Intermezzo, Cadenza and Finale – is a beautifully composed and powerful meditation on the role and function of comparative law. Reviewing it in (2005) 9 (3) EJCL, Jaakko Husa says that the book

… enriches the intellectual diet of contemporary law scholarship. It is hopefully going to be at the forefront of the debate over comparative law theory for the future. To conclude, it is not insignificant that the book was written in a manner genuinely open not only to an American or European, but to a global readership. For … an American reader interested in comparative law/comparative legal studies Enigma offers an exceptionally interesting point of view because it is not entangled in the American web of hostilities and alliances; on many points it may offer genuinely new perspectives to comparative law. For the European reader, it will be proof of an intellectually interesting life outside the ongoing integration-centred debates.

The same volume of the European Journal of Comparative Law published her valedictory lecture at Erasmus University: “Looking at Convergence through the eyes of a Comparative Law” (2005) 9 (2) EJCL. Building on Enigma, her theme that evening was that, in Europe,

… one of the most important roles that comparative law plays is in the harmonisation and unification of activities, and comparative lawyers are involved in the preparation of the many projects to achieve these ends. Such activity is of ever-increasing significance. Whether the starting point be ‘common core’ studies or ‘better law’ studies, the areas prepared for harmonisation and unification are on the increase.

The place of comparative law in all this is crucial. Firstly, comparative law is a fundamental source for any Europe-wide project, in fact, of European law itself. It is the main tool for working towards European integration. It aids in overcoming exclusive nationalism and shows how the ius commune novum must be based on intercultural communication while leaving room for diversity. … The mere existence of the European Union implies that comparative law has a serious role in the developing of principles. Secondly, the kind of comparative law that facilitates intercultural communication is the one which goes beyond juxtaposing, contrasting and comparing. This strengthens the call for comparative lawyers to be trained in interdisciplinary research problems, to have knowledge of and familiarity with different legal cultures, to have a good command of languages, knowledge of history, economics and politics, and also to receive training in methodology. Thirdly, the work of comparative lawyers in facilitating the achievement of the interrelationship between the overlapping circles to bring about intercultural understanding is vital.

She is certain to return to these themes and variations tomorrow night.