IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

American and European Ways of Law: Six Entrenched Differences

  • Kagan, Robert A.
Registered author(s):

    In the wake of intensified global economic competition, economic liberalization, waves of immigration, and the rise of European Union governance, many observers suggest that there has been a sharp diminution of the long-standing differences between hierarchically-organized European legal processes and the more fragmented, malleable “adversarial legalism†of the United States. It is not easy to find meaningful quantitative indicators of convergence (or of continued divergence) in systems as complex and multi-faceted as contemporary legal systems. I argue, however, that six salient features of the American way of law have not emerged and are unlikely to emerge in European legal systems. Two of these differences are structural or procedural: (1) the political nature and powerful remedial powers of American judiciaries; (2) the high levels of adversarial legalism in the American regulatory process. The next four differences are substantive, relating to differences in the content of bodies of law that are central to the experience of citizens: (3) laws and institutional practices that make American tort law uniquely threatening; (4) the more limited rights to social provision and employee protections that prevail in American law; (5) the less demanding obligations of American tax law; (6) America’s more punitive criminal sanctions, more permissive gun laws, and greater reliance on adversarial legalism in criminal adjudication and police accountability. These six differences are not likely to narrow significantly, I will argue, since they are rooted in the distinctive features of American and European political structures, political belief systems, and legal cultures.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/3kt912b3.pdf;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley in its series Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt3kt912b3.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: 06 Apr 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cdl:bineur:qt3kt912b3
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/ies/

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:bineur:qt3kt912b3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.