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10 - Epistle to Catalonia: romance and rentabilidad in an anglophone mixed jurisdiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

Shael Herman
Affiliation:
Professor of Civil Law Tulane Law School, New Orleans
Hector L. MacQueen
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Antoni Vaquer
Affiliation:
Universitat de Lleida
Santiago Espiau Espiau
Affiliation:
Universitat de Lleida
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Summary

Preface

Twenty years ago, two of my colleagues joined me in publishing a slender pamphlet entitled The Louisiana Civil Code: A Humanistic Appraisal. A non-technical book aimed primarily at a readership untrained in law, it sketched the unusual history and social vision of the Louisiana Civil Code, which was first enacted by a fledgling Louisiana legislative assembly in 1808. Besides sketching the philosophical and historical foundations of the Civil Code, our pamphlet sought to reply to a persistent lament from lawyers in Louisiana and other states. In Louisiana's distinctive legal tradition, the lawyers thought they confronted unacceptable complications for their business practice and a futile resistance to a United States juggernaut driving us all toward legal uniformity. Against such criticism the pamphlet's contrarian authors persevered. For us, the unusual contour cut by the Louisiana Civil Code in the legal landscape of the United States was reason for celebration rather than lament. For the state's citizens, the Louisiana Civil Code was by 1981 a permanent fixture, fully incorporated for over 170 years into the state's legal institutions and undergoing extensive modernisation to suit it to social needs and law practice in the twenty-first century. Here is the celebratory introduction of our opening section entitled ‘Vive la différence’:

The Louisiana Civil Code, a one volume blueprint of society, is among the most significant landmarks in American legal history. Inspired by the continental Roman tradition rather than English law, the civil code makes Louisiana a civil law island in a common law sea. […]

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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