Defining Comparative Law

Comparative law is defined as the study of legal systems by comparing them with one another. The origin of comparative law can be traced back a century ago. Some of the legal systems that are studied in comparative law include the civil law, Hindu law, Chinese law, canon law, socialist law, and many others. Montesquieu is known as the founding figure of comparative law. The modern comparative law is known to have been brought about by Sir Henry Maine, a British jurist. Comparative law has acquired practical importance since it was introduced. Many learning institutions have taken it up as a subject. The University of Oxford went into the record as the first university to teach comparative in 1869. Sir Henry Maine served as the first comparative law professor at the University.  More on


The increased globalization of world trade which involves doing business in foreign legal systems has contributed a lot to the recognition of comparative law. Many legal scholars have found a keen interest in studying comparative law and many states from all over the world practice comparative law. Comparative law has been known to unify legal systems and make the world one big place to stay. A number of disciplines have developed as individual branches of comparative law. These include the following:

  • Comparative criminal law
  • Comparative constitutional law
  • Comparative commercial law
  • Comparative civil law
  • Comparative administrative law

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Rudolf Schlesinger is a legal scholar who is said to have been escaping persecution in Germany. Rudolf Schlesinger brought comparative law to the US. Rudolf eventually became a comparative law professor at the Cornell Law School where he helped in spreading the discipline all over the United States.


Sujit Choudhry is a former Dean of Berkeley Law. He serves as the Professor of Law at the I. Michael Heyman. Sujit is a renowned international authority in matters concerning comparative law. Sujit’s research addresses the simple methodological questions that come up in comparative constitutional law. Sujit Choudhry is an author who has been able to publish over 90 book chapters, articles, reports, and working papers. Sujit serves on the Executive Committee of International Society of Public Law. Sujit is a former member of the Advisory Panel at the Governing Toronto. He has law degrees which he earned from Harvard and Oxford University. Sujit is among the four Canadians who were awarded the Trudeau Fellowship. He offers legal advice to legal scholars in matters concerning comparative law.

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