Working with a Code: Is There a Difference Between Civil-Law and Common-Law People?
Wolfgang Oehler | 1997 U. Ill. L. Rev.
In this very personal and thought-provoking essay, Professor Oehler, a former student of Professor Krause's, reflects on his teacher's scholarly work in the field of comparative law. The author suggests that the perceived difference between common-law and civil-law approaches--that one is bound by case precedent and the other wedded to an unyielding code--is, in the modern world, more apparent than real. After exploring how the two systems affect notions of law and legal order, styles of legislation, approaches to the teaching and learing of law, judicial decision making, and statutory interpretation, the author concludes that the two systems are drawing closer over time. The emergence of a unified Europe will, according to Professor Oehler, accelerate the pace. In the end, the author reminds us of the enduring contribution of Harry Krause to the fields of family law and comparative law as he offers Krause's family law case books a s a model for the melding of constitutional, statutory, and case law.
* Professor of Law, University of Bielefeld. M.C.L. 1975, University of Illinois. I am grateful to Renate Karl, LL.M. 1994, University of Illinois, for valuable help in preparation of this essay.