European Journal of Law Reform

Article

From Legal Imposition to Legal Invitation

From Transplants to Mutual Learning, Benchmarks and Best-Practice-Inspiration

Keywords legal transplants, comparative constitutional law, endurance of constitutions, transposition of EU directives, Councils for the Judiciary
Authors Wim J.M. Voermans
Author's information

320149 Wim J.M. Voermans
Wim Voermans is professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University, Director of the Institute of Public Law at Leiden Law School and vice-President of the International Association for Legislation (IAL).
  • Abstract

      Ever since Alan Watson published his thought-provoking book on legal transplant, legal scholars seem to have imported their own ‘do-institutions-matter’ debate. Strong positions have been taken in the debate on the possibility of legal transplants. Some deem context-free legal transplants impossible or at least unwarranted, whereas others rally for a more liberal stance. Bob and Ann Seidman were always working at the heart of this most topical, scholarly debate – one of the most interesting debates on the crossroads of law and (political) societies in our age of globalization. This article tries to get at the heart of the debate on legal transplants, which is rooted in the immediate wake of decolonization and the ideological strife during the Cold War. Since then the world has changed dramatically. We now live in the age of globalization and possibilities for mass communication, information sharing and cooperation in ways unfathomable 40 years ago. This has undoubtedly had an impact on how jurisdictions learn and borrow legal concepts, rules and solutions from one another. Have these new developments and experiences outdated the legal-transplant debate or is it still relevant? The article argues that Bob and Ann Seidman’s position in the debate is still very relevant for present-day practices of legal borrowing and legal transplants. Key to this is their notion of contextual legal-legitimacy.

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