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le 13 février 2013

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Lawyers dealing with matters in countries with civil law systems will doubtless be interested in this scholarly examination of law and economics within such systems as, for example, the Civil Code, with which the learned author is obviously the most familiar -- indeed expert -- in his capacity as Emeritus Professor of Law at the Universite de Montreal in Quebec. Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec, for historical reasons, is a civil law jurisdiction.

Mackaay’s book offers an overview as well as analysis of the concepts pertaining to law and economics as applied to civil law systems and is illustrated throughout by cases and examples from legal systems in both North America and Europe. With Canada being a common law jurisdiction -- the province of Quebec being the exception -- Mackaay, as one commentator has observed, is ‘able to bridge the gap between common and civil law traditions’.

As the author states as well as implies, law and economics, in recent decades, have been recognized to be inextricably linked, ‘giving rise each year to a significant number of conferences, papers and books and teaching programmes throughout the world…. and gaining acceptance as a significant tool for legal scholarship.’

The book is therefore divided into two parts; the first --Foundations -- provides the economic tools required. The second part -- Legal Institutions -- examines the core institutions of civil law including property and real (estate) rights, intellectual property, civil liability and contractual obligations.

Certainly the book contains the fruits of the author’s impressively extensive research activities in this field. There are extensively footnotes with references and lengthy bibliographies at the end of each chapter. The detailed twenty-page index at the back aids navigation. Besides tables of abbreviations, cases and treaties, there is an extensive table of legislation relevant to the contents of the book, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and the United States, as well as the relevant European Union directives. Usefully for researchers and scholars, each chapter has a massive bibliography and there’s a twenty-page index at the back.

‘The economic analysis of law offers interesting insights to common lawyers as well as civil lawyers,’ remarks the author in his concluding statements, adding that ‘law and economics joins hands with comparative law.’ So whether you are a lawyer or economist, this book which examines civil law and common law systems should ideally be added to your professional library.
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