Comparative Law and Legal Culture

Roger Cotterrell

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780199296064
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Comparative Law and Legal Culture


The idea of legal culture has had an important place in major recent debates about the nature and aims of comparative law. The idea of legal culture entails that law should be treated as embedded in a broader culture of some kind. This culture may, but need not necessarily, be seen as wider than the lawyer's or lawmaker's professional realm of law. Often, however, conceptions of legal culture encompass much more than this professional juristic realm. They refer to a more general consciousness or experience of law that is widely shared by those who inhabit a particular legal environment, for example a particular region, nation, or group of nations. Culture appears fundamental — a kind of lens through which all aspects of law must be perceived, or a gateway of understanding through which every comparatist must pass so as to have any genuine access to the meaning of foreign law.

Keywords: legal culture; legal change; foreign law; comparatist; culture

Article.  12888 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law

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