Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Presentations on Civil Law for a Common Law Audience

 The American Association of Law Libraries Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section (AALL FCIL-SIS) recently organized a Workshop: Demystifying Civil Legal Systems for a Common Law Audience.

The different presentations will be summarized on the DipLawMatic Dialogues Blog.

The first recap is for The Role of Cases in Mixed and/or Civil Jurisdictions: Historical Traditions and Modern Developments, a presentation by Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay, President and CEO of CanLII.

In his talk, Beauchamp-Tremblay shared the results of a study he conducted:
"He sampled 400 cases from each year between 2003-2017 and measured the average length (in terms of number of characters) of the opinions. He also tracked 'citation density,' the average number of cited decisions in the opinion, over the same period of time."

"The findings of this study were quite impressive: the length of decisions in Québec’s lower courts increased by about 40% and in the appellate court by 20%. Citation density in the courts’ decisions also showed a marked increase over the same period. A similar study by Antoine Dusséaux of French courts produced similar results. Judicial opinions in these two civil law jurisdictions were getting longer and including more citations in support of legal arguments – characteristics traditionally only seen in opinions authored by common law judges."

"The data collected by both Beauchamp-Tremblay and Dusséaux suggests that something is having an effect on the length and density of judicial opinions in both Québec and France. Beauchamp-Tremblay concluded his presentation by proposing several possible reasons for these changes, including increased access to the law, more complex legal and evidentiary issues in the cases, and judges writing more of their own opinions."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm


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