Transplants and Translations: Louisiana and France in the Early Nineteenth Century

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The first Civil Code of Louisiana, The Digest of the Civil Laws Now in Force in the Territory of Orleans, With Alterations and Amendments Adapted to its Present System of Government was promulgated in 1808, having been drafted primarily in French and then translated into English. The two redactors, acting with a committee of the Territorial Legislature, had made extensive use of the Code civil des français of 1804 and its Projet, generally known as the Projet de l’an VIII. The Digest was in many ways the product of a major exercise in legal transplants.

As long ago as 1973, the late Professor André-Jean Arnaud had pointed out that, between the drafting of the Projet and the enactment of the Code civil, the use of verbs had changed, with present tenses becoming future tenses, giving the Code a more positivist and less natural-law appearance. This paper will explore the implications of this for the drafting of the Digest in French with the subsequent translation of its individual articles into English.

This will provide insights into the drafting and enactment of the Digest, with broader implications into the development of law and the survival of legislative forms.
Period11 Jul 2019
Event titleBritish Legal History Conference 2019
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational