Jour Fixe

Jour Fixe

  • Date: Apr 25, 2016
  • Time: 12:00 - 13:00
  • Speaker: Prof. Gerardo Caffera
  • Topic: Anglo American influence on the formation of South American Private Law (1820-1870)
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
  • Room: Lecture hall of the MPI
Jour Fixe

During the nineteenth century, some Anglo American legal books were widely read in South America, and even taught at the schools of law of South American Universities. Jeremy Bentham's Traite de Legislation Civile et Penale, W. Blackstone's Commentaries on the laws of England, and J. Kent's Commentaries on American Law are important examples. Furthermore, some prominent South American lawyers and politicians spent time in England somewhen between 1810 to 1830, and many of them actively corresponded with Bentham. The influence of Bentham on the general topic of codification is recognized by legal historians. However, Benthamite, or in broader terms, Anglo American influence in the formation of concrete rules or institutions of South American private law has been denied or considered irrelevant. Though it is clear that the overwhelming influence came from Spanish, Roman and French law, a research of South American sources reveals that Anglo American sources were more taken into account than usually assumed. In addition, that influence may have impacted in two crucial areas of private law: contracts and successions. Certain central characteristics of South American law on those fields, differed from civil law systems of continental Europe. Evidence of the drafters of that legislation being inspired by Anglo American sources exists and may explain those differences. While, these findings do not substantially alter the ideas we have about the sources of the South American private law, they show a limited but relevant and practical influence from an unexpected side.

Go to Editor View