Skip to main content
LSU Law Logo

Saúl Litvinoff Series

Civil Law and Common Law: Cross Influences, Contamination and Permeability

This Civil Law Workshop Series visits the relationship between the civil law and the common law. How much and to what extent does each system influence or contaminate the other?

At all times, legal ideas have circulated, often ignoring the boundaries between legal families such as the civil law and the common law. At the time of its Revolution, France borrowed from England the jury system and justices of the peace, yet with considerable adjustments. Earlier on, English law had borrowed many techniques from Roman law and Canon law, making them distinctly English. The Anglo-American doctrine of mistake in contract is based on Pothier’s Treatise on Obligations. The American UCC did not invent the irrevocability of offers. Trusts prosper in a number of civil law countries. Examples are manifold and can be found in every jurisdiction, “purely” civil or “purely” common law or “mixed,” like Louisiana implanting promissory estoppel in its Civil Code.

This Civil Law Workshop Series does not aim at tackling all cross references and transplants. Speakers will identify cross influences in their area of scholarship and are invited to determine whether outside influences strengthen, weaken, or contaminate a given system, in an attempt to answer the following question: to what extent are the civil law and the common law permeable to each other?

Topics will cover areas of substantive law, procedure, law making and legal reform techniques, and legal education. The papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Civil Law Studies.

The LSU Law Center has declared 2009 the Year of Litvinoff. This Civil Law Workshop Series is dedicated to our eminent civilian and comparativist, at the time where he moves to retirement after a rich career as practitioner, teacher, author, and reformer of the civil law of Louisiana.


Professors Olivier Moréteau and Ronald J. Scalise, Jr.


February 2009
Professor Fernando Toller
Austral University (Argentina)
Towards a Revival of the Case Method in Civil Law Education
See the video of the presentation

March 2009
Professor Ulrich Magnus
University of Hamburg (Germany)
The Vienna Sales Convention (CISG) between Civil and Common Law-Best of all Worlds?
See the video of the presentation

April 2009
Professor Sheldon Leader
University of Essex (United Kingdom)
Legal Theory and the Variety of Legal Cultures: The Example of Dworkin
See the video of the presentation

October 2009
Professor Xiangshun Ding
School of Law, Renmin University, China
The Adoption of the American Legal Education Model in East Asia
See the video of the presentation

November 2009
Dr. Nono Makarim
Visiting Scholar LSU Law Center; Of Counsel, Makarim & Taira S., Indonesia
Freedom of the Press in Indonesia, a Case of Collective Misinterpretation
See the video of the presentation

January 2010
Professor Jörg Fedtke
Tulane University Law School
Time to Move On – Challenging a Tired Division – Common Law Methods in a Civil Law System
See the video of the presentation

February 2010
Professor Santiago Legarre
Universidad Católica Argentina, Buenos Aires
Common Law, Civil Law, and the Challenge from Federalism
See the video of the presentation