September 15, 2007 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 2007.
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Summer saw the establishment of a legal link -- Cornell Law School with the Cour de Cassation -- one opened July 17, in a Palais de Justice ceremony attended by no less than the US Chief Justice, John Roberts, and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, and Cornell grad Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among other US and European legal luminaries.
The "Cornell Center for Documentation on American Law", inaugurated by the ceremony plus Cornell's gift of 13,000 volumes of American case law, will be available henceforth at the Cour for consultation by French magistrates, and by participants in Cornell Law's summer institute in Paris.
Numerous French law libraries are online, now. The Bibliothèque Cujas, for example, offers extensive and very interesting digital research resources:
-- materials available in various formats, including html, php, pdf, rtf, Word -- see generally,
The Cour de Cassation itself, too, has an online presence now: catalog entries for works prior to 1950 may be seen via a link at,
-- for example,
|Titre(s)||La théorie juridique de la convention - texte imprimé / par Hans Kelsen|
|Publié par||[Paris] : [Recueil Sirey], |
|Description||F. 34-76; 30 cm|
|Note(s)||Fascicule factice constitué de photocopies
Don de la Bibliothèque de l'Ordre des avocats à la Cour d'appel de Paris
Contrats et obligations, contrat, philosophie
-- and see generally,
A general note, then:
So it is not a judicial research wilderness in France, online...
What has been lacking for a long time, though, has been an adequate means of doing comparative analysis. How to do good French law research from a law firm or library or courtroom located in the US? Also vice versa: from Paris or en province, wading through the voluminous and unfamiliar legal corridors of US "federal" and "state" and "municipal" case-law decisions...?
Since at least René David's popular last-century efforts, comparativist legal analysis has worried greatly over the dialogue de sourds which too often bedevils law, and things-cross-cultural generally, traveling from the Continental side of the Atlantic "pond" to the other and back again.
At the July Cour de Cassation event, Justice Ginsburg paid an elegant tribute to her former professor at Cornell Law, the comparativist Rudolf Schlesinger:
"He taught me the value of learning from other legal systems and recognizing their common core as well as their differences. I know he would applaud the establishment of this center. This is a bright moment."
So, as Professor Schlesinger dreamed, perhaps our Globalizing & Digital era at last will make comparative analysis really possible... We have the information now, increasingly, and literally at our fingertips, via digital texts and links.
And more importantly, perhaps, now in the 2000s we have a growing "transnational" mindset (see Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 1964-; Nye & Keohane, Transnational Relations and World Politics, 1972; plus many more recent works). That is perhaps not a viewpoint the careful and always-precise Professor Schlesinger might have anticipated, back in the 1950s & 60s, or even would have embraced. But it enables practitioners in many professional arenas nowadays to think outside of their earlier "national" boxes (see Anne Marie Slaughter, A New World Order, 2004).
I was one of his students too, some years after Justice Ginsburg, Professor Schlesinger still clear and precise and always an inspired teacher... He may have shrugged sceptically at internationalism, or at transnationalism; but viewing things comparatively, Schlesinger always pointed out to students, is at least a first step in really understanding them in the modern world, wherever subsequent steps might lead.
Kudos, then, to the Cour de Cassation and to Cornell, and to all the law librarians on both sides of the "pond" now hard at work enabling comparative analysis, and narrowing old cross-cultural gaps.
For more on the July 17 Cornell Law / Cour de Cassation event, see,
FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic | journal published since 1992 as a small-scale, | personal experiment, in the creation of large- | scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler. / \ Any material written by me which appears in ----- FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for // \\ any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me --------- credit and show my email address, and, b) it // \\ isn't going to make them money: if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives may be found at http://firstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR archive), or http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive), or http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Collections/FYIFrance/ or http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all gratefully received at email@example.com . Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as indicated above.
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