Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries

Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries

Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries

Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries


The aim of the book is to highlight the law and economics issues confronting civil law countries. The following questions are addressed in this volume: to what extent have the existing codes in civil law countries been designed to incorporate economic considerations? Can the modifications made to codified rules over time be explained by a will to react to new economic constraints? Which economic problems are at the root of the revision of codes? And, given that the code is not the only source of law in civil law countries, the volume also explores the relationship between law and economics in the context of both the legislature and the courts. Contributors from a wide range of countries were invited to compare their points of view ¿ one being the theoretical possibility of transposing the approach and categories of Anglo-Saxon Law and Economics to civil law countries, while the other is the development of empirical analyses concerning the content and the economic effects of rules of law in civil law countries. The endeavor was to be, in part, theoretical and empirical, as well as normative and positive. The volume explores some of the ways in which economic analysis can contribute to an understanding of key aspects of the relationships between legal systems and thus provide a useful methodology for comparative law and economics. This is crucial for economic analysis of law in civil law countries, that is, in the European context where different national orders coexist and are influenced sometimes by common law tradition and sometimes by the civil Roman-Germanic tradition. For example, in the context of European harmonization, a comparative law and economics methodology can help us understand if the competition between legal systems will generate a tendency for national legal principles to converge in the different domains of the law (environmental law, contract law, liability law, criminal law, procedural rules) or if they are expected to diverge. Taken together, the fifteen chapters illustrate the richness and diversity of viewpoints of law and economics. They also confirm, in a certain sense, that law and economics in Europe has not yet reached the same degree of development it has in North America. However, the research demonstrates that we can learn from applying economic analysis to the problems in different domains of codified civil law. The volume further symbolizes the coming of age of the field of law and economics in civil law countries. Contributors to this volume include a majority of economists and a significant number of jurists. This showed not only a common interest in the scientific exchanges between practitioners from two, heretofore, separate and distinct academic fields, but also demonstrate the necessity of a radical evolution in the relations between economists and jurists. The structure of the volume is aimed at covering the range of issues raised by the current and future expansion of economic approaches to law in Europe. The first part groups chapters that share a common line of inquiry into the relevance of law and economics in civil law contexts, but do so from different viewpoints and arguments. The contributions deal with several issues such as: the scope of a comparative law and economics perspective, the meaning of law and economics for civilian lawyers, the analysis of negotiation of disputed rights, case-law, contract law, security law and regulation in civil and common law contexts. The second part joins together chapters devoted to the implementation of tools provided by law and economics for the enlightenment of legal issues in the fields of private, criminal, and administrative law. Several issues are addressed, namely: the role of institutions in the contractual process, corporate governance in Germany, tort liability , alternative dispute resolution and administrative law in France, criminal systems in civil law countries, and the


Bruno Deffains and Thierry Kirat

This book is devoted to The Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries. Up until now, Law and Economics was essentially developed in countries in which common law is prevalent, with the aim of re-thinking judicial functions from an economic standpoint. the method consists in giving a dynamic view of the rule of law and enabling the finalities and changes in the judicial system to be understood. the purpose of the book is indeed to encourage thought concerning the manner in which this method may be widened within those civil law countries where law displays the particularity of being codified.

For many years, the two fields have advanced quite independently from one another. Today Law and Economics is an important vector for convergence between these two subject areas. the Nobel prize awarded to Ronald Coase in 1991 attests to the increasing importance of this field of research, with numerous writers ranging from Richard Posner to Gary Becker as well as Guido Calabresi, Douglas North, James Buchanan, William Vickrey venturing into it. All of them demonstrate that Law and Economics can provide tools for scholars interested in understanding the law regulating human behavior. Richard Posner’s achievement was to use economic axioms and instmments to illuminate the forces at work in the Anglo-American legal system. He laid bare the architecture of the common law by showing how much of it could be derived from the axioms of economics. the claim was never that only these mattered, but rather that even by themselves they showed that the law could have a logic and coherence that before we had only known intuitively. of course, the posnerian approach is not exclusive and as, some papers will demonstrate, relations between law and economics can be tackled from different points of view. Here, we want to

Law and Economics in Civil Law Countries, Volume 6, pages 1-5.
Copyright © 2001 by Elsevier Science B. V.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
ISBN: 0-7623-0712-9

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