Codification, Transplants and History: Law Reform in Louisiana (1808) and Quebec (1866)

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When Louisiana enacted its Digest of the Civil Laws in 1808 and Quebec its Civil Code of Lower Canada in 1866, both jurisdictions were in a period of transition - economic, social and political. In both, the laws had originally been transplanted from European nations whose societies were in many ways different from theirs. This book offers the first systematic and detailed exploration of the two new codes in light of social and legal change. Cairns examines the rich, complex, and varying legal cultures -- French, Spanish, Civilian and Anglo-American -- on which the two sets of redactors drew in drafting their codes. He places this examination in the context surrounding each codification, and the legal history of both societies. Cairns offers a detailed analysis of family law and employment in the two codes, showing how their respective redactors selected from a defined range of sources and materials to construct their codes. He shows that they acted relatively freely, attempting to inscribe into law rules reflecting what they understood to be the needs of their society from an essentially intuitive and elite perspective. While not propounding a universal theory of legal development, Cairns nonetheless shows the types of factors likely to influence legal change more generally.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLawbook Exchange
Number of pages559
ISBN (Print)9781616195090
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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