What can comparative law compare? It is relatively uncontroversial that certain topics are included in its scope. For example, comparisons between English and French contract law, between US and Japanese constitutional adjudication, or between German and Polish court structures clearly belong to comparative law. Beyond this traditional scope, some comparatists include further topics, for example, suggesting that legal systems of the past, sub-national laws and informal forms of dispute resolutions can also be possible units of comparison. But why stop here? As many legal topics involve elements of comparison, it may only be logical to make any comparison in law part of the field of comparative law. However, such a suggestion about the broadening of comparative law also needs to assess whether the methods and concepts of comparative law can be suitable for other than the conventional units. Therefore, this paper will discuss both the possible extensions to the scope of comparative law and the corresponding power of comparative law to deal with these new units of comparison.

Keywords: comparative law, units of comparison, foreign law, comparative methods, legal research


A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30. The meeting will begin at 1pm.