Sujit Choudhry and the Modern Comparative Law

Apart from being the I. Michael Heyman law professor, Sujit Choudhry is known for numerous other things. Through his efforts and participation in the various works and activities associated with comparative constitutional law, Sujit has made himself a name as an internationally recognized authority in this branch of law.


Sujit Choudhry’s research works are based on a wide array of agendas in the world of comparative constitutional law which includes constitutional design, an effective tool for managing transitions from violent conflicts to peaceful democratic politics. Other areas include constitutional design in societies that have grown apart ethnically, decentralization, federalism and semi-presidentialism among numerous others. Before taking up his current role, Sujit Choudhry worked as a Cecelia Goetz law professor at the NYU School of Law and the Scholl Chair in the University of Toronto’s Law Faculty.

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The professor is also the founding director of the Centre for Constitutional Transitions. The centre engages in the production and mobilization of knowledge in support of constitution building. It achieves its objectives by bringing together and providing direction to international networks of experts to ensure completion of thematic research projects capable of delivering evidence-based policy options to the practitioners. The Centre for Constitutional Transitions partners with world networks of think tanks, universities, non-governmental organisations and multilateral organizations.


The history of comparative law

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, comparative law entails a critical analysis of comparative legal systems and the connection between law and social sciences. Comparative law is a modern term that was used for the first time in the 19th century when it became undeniably clear that there was a need to have in place, a systematic approach of comparing legal institutions to ensure increased understanding of foreign cultures, besides furthering the legal process. However, since the earlier times, specific researchers and scholars have been using this comparative technique with full knowledge of the advantages it offers.


In the strictest sense, comparative law involves a theoretical study of the legal systems by comparing each one of them with the other, and as already mentioned, this tradition goes way back to more than a century ago. Recent years have seen comparative law gain heightened importance for two good reasons. For starters, globalisation has been steadily on the rise, and businesses and individuals are forced to operate within unfamiliar legal systems. Secondly, the recent move aimed at ensuring harmonization of laws, and the European Union’s most recent codification that requires various legal traditions to coexist have made the comparative law more important than ever before.


There are Internet resources and publications that have brought together legal materials for a couple of jurisdictions. In as much as these resources do not undertake the necessary comparisons, they are still perceived as useful tools of trade for the comparative law professionals. Click here.


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