March 12, 2015

Legal Tradition, Legal Reform, and Louisiana

Christopher K. Odinet, Southern University Law Center, has published Commerce, Commonality, and Contract Law: Legal Reform in a Mixed Jurisdiction in volume 75 of the Louisiana Law Review (2015). Here is the abstract.

This Article explores the tradition/reform dichotomy as it exists in certain jurisdictions that, because of their unique history and nature, are particularly susceptible to the struggle between legal tradition and legal reform — mixed jurisdictions. In order to more closely examine the tradition/reform dichotomy and its theoretical and practical effects, this Article analyzes the role that traditional legal institutions play in the legal reform process through the lens of America’s lone mixed jurisdiction — Louisiana.

By exploring Louisiana’s subtle, yet prevalent, anchor-like legal conundrum caused by the struggle between progress and tradition — the process of mooring oneself to existing institutions to such a degree that newly adopted institutions are rendered less effective and the law as a whole suffers — one is able to extrapolate as to how historical forces play a role in the much larger sphere of mixed jurisdictions globally. This Article also explores the broader social science and psychology behind this anchoring effect by looking at society’s inherent desire to hold on to traditional customs and practices, and to resist, even if only subconsciously, letting go of the past.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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