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Diverging Legal Traditions But Similar Jurisprudence of Overuling : The Case of the House of Lords and the Belgian Cour de Cassation

samedi 1er mai 2004 par Isabelle Rorive

"Diverging Legal Traditions But Similar Jurisprudence of Overuling : The Case of the House of Lords and the Belgian Cour de cassation", European Review of Private Law, 2004, pp. 321-346

According to the conventional view, the attitude towards precedent is one of the most important differences between common law and civil law systems. This paper argues that the phenomenon of overruling as practised both by the Belgian Cour de cassation and the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords casts doubt on the cogency of such a perception. As a matter of fact, the Belgian and English systems exhibit a very similar jurisprudence with respect to departure from existing case law as practised at the highest level in the judiciary. This approach challenges the appearance that formal definitions provide for the difference in attitude towards precedent between the two countries and more broadly between common law and civil law systems, without denying the existence of a distinctive legal culture.


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