Comparative law is a discipline that studies the similarities and differences between laws in different countries around the world. It looks at civil law, common law, socialist law, Chinese law, Hindu law, Islamic law, Jewish law, Cannon law and a number of other legal systems. It includes describing and analyzing a wide range of legal systems even when no explicit comparison is done. Comparative law has grown significantly in importance in the current age of democratization, economic globalization and internationalism.
Modern comparative law was first seen in 18th century Europe. Montesquieu is credited with being one of comparative law’s early founding figures. He discusses the discipline at length in his great 1748 book De l’esprit des lois. In it he dealt with the political and civil laws in many nations. British jurist Sir Henry James Sumner Maine was Oxford’s first comparative law professor. He also wrote several influential, widely-read books that looked at laws in primitive societies as well as Western and Eastern legal traditions. German legal scholar Rudolf Schlesinger introduced the study of comparative law to the United States while a professor at Cornell Law School.
Sujit Choudhry is a modern comparative law scholar and internationally recognized authority. The I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law combines in-depth field experience with a wide-ranging research agenda. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned law degrees from Harvard, Toronto and Oxford. He was also Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Antonio Lamer’s law clerk. Choudhry was an advisor to Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, South Africa and Tunisia on constitution building processes.
He also taught at Berkeley Law School, NYU School of Law and the University of Toronto.
Choudhry has done research on a variety of comparative constitutional law issues. They include using constitutional design to manage the transition to peaceful democratic politics from violent conflict, constitutional design in societies that are ethnically divided, decentralization and secession, federalism, constitutional courts, constitution building and semi-presidentialism. He has also published more than 90 book chapters, articles, reports and working papers. You may also see his works online at Play Google.
Sujit Choudhry is an International Society of Public Law Executive Committee member, is on the Governing Toronto Advisory Panel, the Legal Aid Ontario Board of Directors, International Journal of Constitutional Law Board of Editors, the Constitutional Court Review Editorial Board as well as the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law Editorial Advisory Board. Choudhry was among four Canadians that received the Trudeau Fellowship in 2010.