In most places at most times borrowing is the most fruitful source of legal change. The borrowing may be from within the system, by analogy - from negligence in torts to negligence in contract, for instance - or from another legal system. The act of borrowing is usually simple. To build up a theory of borrowing on the other hand, seems to be an extremely complex matter. Receptions come in all shapes and sizes: from taking over single rules to (theoretically) almost a whole system. They present an array of social phenomena that are not easily explained: from whom can one borrow, in what circumstances does one borrow? Still, one serious obstacle to under-standing should be stressed: students and scholars are hesitant to accept the obvious fact of massive borrowing and to consider its implications. I am often told, not only in print and even by close friends, that I exaggerate. On the contrary: I believe I, too, have been unwilling to recognize the scale of borrowing and of legal autonomy. In this paper I want to look at four aspects of legal transplants and of legal autonomy, all presented in terms of particular examples. The examples are chosen because they are striking (I think), cause reflection on borrowing, and indicate some difficulties for building up a theory. They are not chosen because they are extreme.
Aspects of Reception of Law
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