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Comparative Law by Uwe KISCHEL Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. X + 960 pp. Hardcover: £150

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Comparative Law by Uwe KISCHEL Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. X + 960 pp. Hardcover: £150

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 April 2020

Aleksander GREBIENIOW*
University of Warsaw
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Copyright © National University of Singapore, 2020

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Dr iur (University of Fribourg, Switzerland). Assistant Professor, University of Warsaw (Poland) and member of the Research and Analyses Office of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland. Formerly of the University of Berne, Switzerland (2012–2015).


1. Original published in German by CH Beck, 2015. Professor Uwe Kischel is Mercator Professor of Public Law, European Law, and Comparative Law at the University of Greifswald, Germany.

2. Frankenberg, Günter, ‘Rechtsvergleichung” – A New Gold Standard?’ (2016) 76 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht [Heidelberg Journal of International Law] 1001, 10011002Google Scholar.

3. The interest in Kischel's publication is evidenced by over twenty-three book reviews in legal journals and in the press across nearly all the continents. See Uwe Kischel, ‘Publications’ <> accessed 26 Feb 2020.

4. cf Husa, Jaakko, Advanced Introduction to Law and Globalisation (Edward Elgar 2018) 39CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5. Expression borrowed from Black, E Ann & Bell, Gary F, ‘Introduction’, in Black, E Ann & Bell, Gary F (eds), Law and Legal Institutions in Asia – Traditions, Adaptations and Innovations (Cambridge University Press 2011) 22CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6. See Kischel, Uwe, ‘La méthode en droit comparé. L'approche contextuelle [Method in Comparative Law. The Contextual Approach]’ (2016) 68 Revue internationale de droit comparé 907, 910916CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7. However, the functional method has many faces. See Michaels, Ralf, ‘The Functional Method of Comparative Law’ in Reimann, Mathias & Zimmermann, Reinhard (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (2nd edn, Oxford University Press 2019) 345389Google Scholar.

8. On the paradoxical similarities of both methodological approaches, see Husa, Jaakko, ‘Methodology of Comparative Law Today: From Paradoxes to Flexibility?’ (2006) 58 Revue internationale de droit comparé 1095, 10951117CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Valcke, Catherine & Grellette, Matthew, ‘Three Functions of Function in Comparative Legal Studies’, in Adams, Maurice & Heirbaut, Dirk (eds), The Method and Culture of Comparative Law: Essays in Honour of Mark Van Hoecke (Hart 2014) 105106Google Scholar.

9. However, Uwe Kischel is not the only proponent of contextuality in comparative law. He was preceded at least by Marieke Oderkerk, Mathias Siems, and Jaakko Husa. cf Oderkerk, Marianne, ‘The Importance of Context: Selecting Legal Systems in Comparative Legal Research’ (2001) 48 Netherlands International Law Review 293, 293318CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Siems, Mathias, Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press 2018) 1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Husa, ‘Methodology’ (n 8) 1111.

10. cf Tschentscher, Axel, ‘Dialektische Rechtsvergleichung – Zur Methode der Komparistik im öffentlichen Recht [Dialectical Comparison – On the Method of Comparisons in Public Law]’ (2007) 62 JuristenZeitung 807, 812CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11. Kischel, ‘La méthode’ (n 6) 920, 925.

12. See Sacco, Rodolfo, ‘Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law (Installment I of II)’ (1991) 39 American Journal of Comparative Law 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sacco, Rodolfo, ‘Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law (Installment II of II)’ (1991) 39 American Journal of Comparative Law 343CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13. cf Nelken, David, ‘Using the Concept of Legal Culture’ (2004) 29 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 1Google Scholar. It is interesting, however, that Kischel judges ‘legal culture’ to be insufficient as a tool for legal comparison, distracting researchers from focusing on normative issues (p 220). cf Cotterrell, Roger, ‘The Concept of Legal Culture’, in Nelken, David (ed), Comparing Legal Cultures (Routledge 1997) 13Google Scholar.

14. Kischel, ‘La méthode’ (n 6) 907.

15. Werro, Franz, ‘How to Engage in Legal Comparison. A Reaction’, in Besson, Samantha, Urscheler, Lukas Heckendorn & Jubé, Samuel (eds), Comparing Comparative Law (Schulthess 2017) 176Google Scholar.

16. See eg Pierre Legrand, ‘Negative Comparative Law’ <> accessed 26 Feb 2020.

17. As listed in Oderkerk, Marianne, ‘The Need for a Methodological Framework for Comparative Legal Research – Sense and Nonsense of “Methodological Pluralism” in Comparative Law’ (2015) 79 Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 589, 598CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18. There are many of them; see eg Husa, Jaakko, ‘The Method is Dead, Long Live the Methods! European Polynomia and Pluralist Methodology’ (2011) 5 Legisprudence 249, 249271CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19. Kischel, ‘La méthode’ (n 6) 918. cf Valcke, Catherine, Comparing Law: Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments (Cambridge University Press 2018) 192CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20. cf Lemmens, Koen, ‘Comparative law as an act of modesty: a pragmatic and realistic approach to comparative legal scholarship’, in Adams, Maurice & Bomhoff, Jacco (eds), Practice and Theory in Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press 2012) 304Google Scholar.

21. See Glenn, H Patrick, Legal Traditions of the World (Oxford University Press 2014) 366368CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22. See Husa, Jaakko, A New Introduction to Comparative Law (Hart 2015) 12, 49, 57Google Scholar.

23. cf Hoecke, Mark Van, ‘Deep Level Comparative Law’, in Hoecke, Mark Van (ed), Epistemology and Methodology of Comparative Law (Hart 2004) 172Google Scholar.

24. Verne, Jules, Around The World In Eighty Days (Scholastic Inc 1990)Google Scholar.