Duelling Legal Systems


When F.A. Hayek wanted to illustrate the distinction between two forms of rationalism, the "constructivist" variety he considered so harmful and the "critical" (evolutionary, piecemeal) sort of which he approved, his exemplars of each type were the legal systems of France and Britain, respectively. So fans of the Caliph of Catallaxy, as well as our more straightforwardly misogallic readers, may be interested in this Legal Affairs piece, which looks at the scholarly debate over statistical evidence that countries whose legal systems are rooted in British common law tend to fare better than those based on the French civil code.

NEXT: Sunni Set-Asides?

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  1. The catallaxy is a spontaneous order, specific to human affairs, especially to market phenomena. Hayek noted that “Catallactics”,“was derived from the Greek verb katallattein (or katallasein) which meant, significantly, not only ‘to exchange’ but also ‘to admit into the community’ and ‘to change from enemy into friend’.”

    The results of LLSV’s research make so appropriate, Julian’s observation of the term in this thread.

  2. The problem is that so damned little of America’s legal system still follows common law procedure.

    When you figure not only tax and administrative law, but the intrusion of civil law procedures into criminal law through the Drug War (civil forfeiture), it’s like we lost not only the Revolution of 1776 but the one of 1688 as well.

  3. Julian Sanchez, did you watch 60 Minutes tonight? Their piece of “echo-boomers” echoed a lot of what you wrote about “millennials”, except what you wrote wasn’t embarassingly stupid.

  4. In the spirit of H&R where I’m hitting and running–streaking even–because I know nothing about this topic:
    But I’ve long thought Christianity sold out to government when it came in from the cold under Constantine.
    Then there was the constipated Martin Luther with a scratchpad on his thigh sitting on his throne. He was probably the author of this well-known graffiti: Some hier kommin zu sitz und denk. Ich bin hier zu shitz und schtink.
    Isn’t British law more influenced by “reform” attitudes while French law is still struggling to make do with II plus II equals IV?

    I’m sure IC percent of us here would agree that Luther has been dead long enough for another quantum leap to be taken. And thoreau is just the person to take it.

  5. I’m sure IC percent of us here would agree that Luther has been dead long enough for another quantum leap to be taken. And thoreau is just the person to take it.

    What would you like me to do? Start my own religion?

    Accept Richard Feynman as your lord and savior!

  6. thoreau,
    My palms are already open to the heavens singing Feynman’s praises!

  7. Sing it, brother Ruthless! Sing it!

  8. WWFD?

    I’m trying to help you launch this thing here.

    tra la la; tweedley dee…
    On Mockingbird Hill. (state boid of Tennessee)

    Ever been to Twitty City?

  9. Surely you’re joking proffessor thoreau!

    But I’m not, click my name and check out the shrine.

  10. I have been a Feynman Fan for many years, but I will demand proof of his resurrection before I join you in worshipping him.

    I am however, intrigued by the idea of a liturgy performed solely with bongos.

  11. at least, ruthless, your palms aren’t open AND hairy…

    and damn you all for getting “rocky top” back in my head. grrrrrrr.

  12. …French civil law…

    Its somewhat erroneous to claim that most civil law countries derive their civil law systems from France. Indeed, its just not really true. Second, despite efforts to shout out the differences between civil and common law countries, when one gets down to the brass tax they are indeed quite similar. For example, in theory French courts do not use precedent, but the fact is that they do use precedent and quite often, its simply under the radar and comes into a court’s decision via law review like articles, etc.

    Having done a bit of work in comparing common law to civil law countries I have always been struck by their similarities rather than their differences.

  13. Steve Sailer points out that the difference between common (or English) law and civil (or French) law doesn’t really work as an explanation of post-colonial success or failure:

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