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CONTEMPORARY LEGAL TRANSPLANTSLEGAL FAMILIES AND THE DIFFUSION OF (CORPORATE) LAW

CONTEMPORARY LEGAL TRANSPLANTSLEGAL FAMILIES AND THE DIFFUSION OF (CORPORATE) LAW

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This paper empirically documents the continued importance of the legalfamilies for the diffusion of formal legal materials from the core to the periphery in post-colonial times. This raises the possibility that substantive differences between countriesof different families around the world, such as those documented in the legal originsliterature, continue to be the result of separate diffusion processes rather than of intrinsicdifferences between common and civil law
This paper empirically documents the continued importance of the legalfamilies for the diffusion of formal legal materials from the core to the periphery in post-colonial times. This raises the possibility that substantive differences between countriesof different families around the world, such as those documented in the legal originsliterature, continue to be the result of separate diffusion processes rather than of intrinsicdifferences between common and civil law

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Published by: Nikolay Mosquera Rojas on Apr 15, 2013
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07/06/2013

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ISSN
 
1936
5349
 
(print)
 
ISSN
 
1936
5357
 
(online)
 
HARVARD
 
 J
OHN
 
M.
 
O
LIN
 
C
ENTER
 
FOR
 
L
AW
 ,
 
E
CONOMICS
 ,
 
AND
 
B
USINESS
 
F
ELLOWS
 
D
ISCUSSION
 
P
APER
 
S
ERIES
 
CONTEMPORARY LEGAL TRANSPLANTS-LEGAL FAMILIES AND THE DIFFUSIONOF (CORPORATE) LAWHolger SpamannDiscussion Paper No. 284/2009Harvard Law SchoolCambridge, MA 02138Contributors to this series are John M. Olin Fellows or Terence M.Considine Fellows in Law and Economics at Harvard University.This paper can be downloaded without charge from:The Harvard John M. Olin Fellow’s Discussion Paper Series:http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/olin_center/
 
 
C
ONTEMPORARY
L
EGAL
T
RANSPLANTS
 – L
EGAL
F
AMILIES AND THE
D
IFFUSION OF
(C
ORPORATE
)
 
L
AW
  by Holger Spamann
 
(forthcoming, BYU Law Review 2009)
Abstract: This paper empirically documents the continued importance of the legalfamilies for the diffusion of formal legal materials from the core to the periphery in post-colonial times. This raises the possibility that substantive differences between countriesof different families around the world, such as those documented in the legal originsliterature, continue to be the result of separate diffusion processes rather than of intrinsicdifferences between common and civil law.Using the example of corporate and securities law, the paper documents thefrequent and often exclusive use of legal materials and models from the respective legalfamily’s core countries in treatises and law reform projects in 32 peripheral and semi- peripheral countries. The paper also shows that most authors of these treatises and projects were trained in the respective core countries. Data on the activities of nationallegal development and cooperation organizations, trade and investment flows, andstudent migration confirm the close legal family ties and provide some evidence of  possible channels through which materials may continue to diffuse within their legalfamilies after decolonization.The diffusion of formal legal materials need not imply that the substantivedevelopment of law is affected by foreign influences, at least not in ways that inducesubstantive differences between periphery countries of different legal families. Varioustheories from comparative law, sociology, political science, and economics providereasons, however, why the content of law in the periphery might continue to beinfluenced by core country models of the same legal family, as the evidence of formaldiffusion suggests they are.JEL: K40, N40, O19, P50
Executive Director of the Program on Corporate Governance and Terence M. Considine Fellow in Law &Economics, Harvard Law School; hspamann@law.harvard.edu. The survey of legal materials in Part I.B of this paper was completed in the summer of 2006 and reflects the law in force and the materials available atthat time. For very helpful comments, I wish to thank Brian Cheffins, Daniel Chen, Stavros Gadinis,Martin Gelter, Yehonathan Givati, Bert Huang, Duncan Kennedy, Katerina Linos, Mark Ramseyer, IvanReidel, Mark Roe, Mathias Siems, conference participants at Copenhagen Business School and BrighamYoung Law School, and students in Duncan Kennedy’s class on the Globalization of Law in HistoricalPerspective. For financial support, I am grateful to the German Academic Exchange Service, the John M.Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business at Harvard Law School, and the Program on CorporateGovernance at Harvard Law School. Lastly, I wish to express my appreciation to the Harvard Law Libraryfor maintaining an extraordinary international collection, without which a project like this would not be possible, and to Martha Jenks for translating titles from Arabic.
 
Introduction.........................................................................................................................1I. Evidence of Formal Diffusion....................................................................................9A. Methodological considerations.............................................................................101. Scope of inquiry................................................................................................102. Validity of inquiry.............................................................................................13B. Data.......................................................................................................................171. The Common law family..................................................................................17a) Treatises........................................................................................................17 b) Statutes..........................................................................................................192. The French legal family....................................................................................23a) Africa and the Middle East...........................................................................24 b) Latin America...............................................................................................25II. Diffusion channels....................................................................................................30A. Legal cooperation and development aid...............................................................31B. Student migration..................................................................................................35III. Making Sense of Formal Diffusion.......................................................................37A. Formal diffusion in general...................................................................................381. Dimensions of the relationship between foreign models and domestic law.....382. Plausibility of different scenarios.....................................................................40B. Role of legal families............................................................................................45IV. Formal Evidence?.................................................................................................52A. Data problems.......................................................................................................53B. Further Tests of Diffusion Theories’ Predictions.................................................55C. Distinguishing Diffusion from Structural Theories..............................................57V. Conclusion Implications for the Role of Legal Families in Comparative Law.....61

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