Comparative law deals with the study of similarities and differences of the laws in different countries. It is a term that was first used in modern times. In the 19th century it became clear comparing legal institutions required a systematic approach. One that increased the understanding of foreign cultures while furthering legal progress. Comparative law specifically involves studying legal systems worldwide including civil law, common law, Canon law, socialist law, Chinese law, Hindu law, Islamic law and Jewish law.
An academic discipline, comparative law looks at the constitutive elements of legal system, ways they differ and the combination of their elements into a system. The discipline includes describing and analyzing foreign legal systems. Comparative law’s importance has increased a great deal in today’s age of economic globalization, internationalism and democratization. Comparative law now has several separate branches. They include comparative civil law, comparative constitutional law, comparative criminal law, comparative administrative law and comparative commercial law.
Studies looking at these specific areas of law are often called macro- or micro-comparative legal analysis. Comparative law has a variety of purposes. They include gaining a deeper knowledge of legal systems in effect, perfecting legal systems in effect and contributing to the unification of smaller or larger scale legal systems. Sujit Choudhry is internationally recognized as an authority when it comes to comparative constitutional development and comparative constitutional law. The I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law, Choudhry is also a former Dean of the University of California, Berkeley law school. He does research which addresses comparative constitutional law’s basic methodological questions. It looks at how constitutional design can be used as a tool to help manage the process of transitioning from violent conflict or authoritarian rule to moving towards peaceful democratic politics and democratic rule.
Sujit Choudhry (Tumblr.com) was a Rhodes Scholar and has law degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Toronto. A Canadian, Choudhry was a law clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Antonio Lamer. He received the Trudeau Fellowship in 2010. Choudhry has published more than 90 book chapters, articles, reports and working papers. He has also edited numerous collections. The Migration of Constitutional Ideas, Constitution Making, The Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law and Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation are just a few of them.
A foreign constitutional expert, Sujit Choudhry helped with constitutional transitions that took place in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.