Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spotlight on Comparative Property Law

Today I will take a momentary break from my commentary on the remaining POTUS candidates to put a spotlight on a conference occurring this weekend at my home institution, Tulane University Law School. This weekend, Tulane is hosting the American Society of Comparative Law’s Younger Comparativists Committee Fifth Annual Global Conference. More than 100 young scholars (young meaning teaching for less than 10 years) from more than 80 institutions around the globe and from 6 different continents (try as I might, I could not find anyone from Antarctica) have descended upon New Orleans this weekend to discuss comparative law. There are 25 concurrent panels running throughout the weekend on topics such as comparative constitutional law, international arbitration, comparative criminal justice and criminal law, human rights, sex and comparative law, teaching comparative law . . . the list goes on and on.

The main plenary panel at the conference is on a topic that blog readers will enjoy: Comparative Property Law. Two of the papers being presented on the panel have been written by scholars from outside the United States who do not get as much advertisement on this blog. Thus, here is a chance to shine some light on the great comparative property law research being done across the globe.

Luigi Bruno (McGill University) is presenting his article today, E Pluribus Unum: Simplifying Complexity in Secured Credit. Luigi writes that as lawmakers recognize the importance of access to credit for development, countries are reforming laws to ease the getting credit process. The global movement towards secured credit legal regimes has had the effect of producing legal harmonization. Luigi notes that most of the literature on the topic thus far has looked at the process of legal harmonization, but his article strives to study the deeper aspect of the legal transplantation phenomenon that has accompanied the global move toward implementing secured credit legal regimes that conform to particular rules. Luigi writes,

This paper proposes to do so by using the concept of cultural specificity of the law as a point of departure to inquire deeper into the phenomenon. By means of a historic, economic and sociologic contextualisation of the birth and development of secured credit laws across legal families this thesis will question if legal transplantation in the field is actually possible. The analysis will then look at some of the possible negative outcomes generated by such practice. In particular, through a detailed reconstruction of reform processes in France, Belgium, Italy and Quebec, the paper will try to show important traits related to the issue at stake – traits that, hopefully, will also lay the foundation for subsequent research.

Sara Gwendolyn Ross (Osgoode Hall Law School) is also presenting her paper, Protecting Urban Spaces of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Nighttime Community Subcultural Wealth: A Comparison of International and National Strategies, the Agent of Change Principles, and Creative Placekeeping. Sara’s interest in this paper is on determining how legal frameworks that govern city space, such as zoning restrictions, urban planning policies, etc., operate within the real world of a neighborhood. Sara uses both anthropologic and geographic methodologies to assess how cultures and subcultures exist alongside city space regulations that may be consistent with or in conflict with the particular culture or subculture. Her objective in doing so is to discover how to simultaneously and equitably value cultural sustainability and city redevelopment. In particular, Sara focus on Toronto’s culture-based development practices as applied to its Music City aspirations. As Sara writes,

A focus on equitable treatment of different iterations of culture, cultural practices, and the spaces where these are found will be approached through a discussion of community subcultural wealth, use-value of urban spaces and properties, and the importance of a buen vivir (or a “good life”) in the city. This paper will additionally zoom out of the local governance of municipal space and property, and turn to international legal frameworks available for the protection of intangible culture, cultural practices, and the associated spaces of cultural practice and high subcultural community wealth, such as spaces of music culture, beyond a focus on their promotion where potential economic benefits are a result. Examining these international legal frameworks will lead to the suggestion that they remain under-utilized at the local city-level where culture plays out on the planes of everyday life in the city.

Luigi and Sara are two younger scholars doing great work in comparative property law. While the Younger Comparativists are at Tulane this weekend, I wanted to take the opportunity to give them a shout out and shine a spotlight on comparative property law.

Don’t worry—next week we begin looking at the views of Hillary and Bernie on eminent domain. And once that’s finished, I will be starting up a series called WWMGD? What Would Merrick Garland Do? so we can all get deeper sense of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee’s position on property-related matters.

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