Comparative law is the discipline which focuses on the differences and similarities between laws adopted in different countries. It concerns above all legal systems including the common law, socialist law, civil law, Canon law, Islamic law, Jewish law, Chinese law, and Hindu law.
The discipline provides a description and analysis of foreign legal systems and, currently, has grown its importance because of the expansion of internationalism, economic globalisation and democratisation.
The origin of comparative law date back to 1667 when Leibniz classified legal systems into different families. As well as this, over the years the discipline grew its importance and in 1869 became a university subject.
The main goals of comparative law include: obtaining a deeper knowledge of the concept of legal systems, improving the legal systems of different countries and contributing to their unification.
Over the time, several disciplines have originated as separate branches of comparative law. These are comparative constitutional law, comparative administrative law, comparative civil law, comparative commercial law and comparative criminal law.
Finally, comparative law has generated various groups of legal systems. The most important ones are the classification made by Arminjon, Nolde and Wolff; the subdivision created by RenéDavid; and the division created by Zweigert and Kötz.
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