Comparative Law and Legal Change

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Law, of course, exists in society and for society's needs. It is a man-made construct to facilitate social activities. Law is inconceivable without society. Societies vary greatly, and so do legal rules. A perennial question is "Do legal rules reflect a society's desires, needs and aspirations?" The answer which is ordinarily given or is just assumed is positive though minor qualifications .are usually urged. And yet, the two most startling, and at the same time most obvious, characteristics of legal rules are the apparent ease with which they can be transplanted from one system or society to another, and their capacity for long life.

With transmission or the passing of time modifications may well occur, but frequently the alterations in the rules have only limited significance. For several years now the transmission and longevity of rules have been my main legal interest and, at the risk of repetition, I wish once again to approach the topic from another angle. My aim is to present a picture of the relationship between a society and the legal rules which operate in it.