Comparative law and its influence on national legal systems

Jan Smits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This contribution assesses the influence of comparative law in national systems. In so doing, emphasis is put on private law and constitutional law. The second and third section distinguishes several types of use of comparative law by
national legislatures and courts, providing the background for a critical evaluation of this influence in the subsequent sections. The fourth section discusses the legitimacy question and the question of how to categorize the different uses of foreign law. The fifth section addresses why a legislature or court actually refers to foreign law and is how to explain the different extent to which countries are open to foreign influence. The last section considers the exact influence of comparative law arguments on the legislature’s or court’s reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law
EditorsReinhard Zimmermann, Mathias Reimann
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978-01-9881-023-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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