Indeed, ‘functionalism’ is used in quite diverging meanings, serving rather different goals: understanding law, comparing (tertium comparationis), focusing on similarities (praesumptio similitudinis), building a system (of ‘legal families’, for instance), determining the ‘better law’, unifying law, critical appraisal of the legal orders (Michaels 2006, p. 364-380). For a broad and excellent overview, see: Siems 2014, Part II ‘Extending the Methods of Comparative Law’ (p. 95-187) and most notably chapter 7 ‘Numerical comparative law’ (p. 146-187). 18 Örücü sees the ‘sociological approach’ even as a variation of, what she calls, the ‘functional-institutional approach’ (Örücü 2007, p. 52). It offers one concrete guideline in that it suggests to focus on (common) legal problems and legal solutions in the compared legal systems, rather than on the (diverging) rules and doctrinal frameworks. It is not accidental that also among legal historians ‘comparative legal history’ has become quite popular over the last decade or so.22xSince 2013 with its own journal Comparative Legal History, published with Hart, Oxford.For the comparatist, information and sources on legal history are generally more readily available than for other forms of law-in-context approaches. That skill calls for immersion in the culture under review, linguistic knowledge, and the application of H. Patrick Glenn, 'The Aims of Comparative Law', in: J.M.Smits (ed. E.g. See also, in the same volume, the contribution of Claes and De Visser (2012, p. 143-169). Nebbia, ‘Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts: An Anglo-Italian Comparison’, in: M. Van Hoecke & F. Ost (eds. Van Hoecke & Warrington 1998M. Does the rise of access render our conception of property obsolete? Moreover, in the 1990s, in their desire to join the European Union, they were keen to adopt, as much as possible, Western European law for modernizing their own private law. However, one has to be aware that lack of sufficient understanding of foreign legal systems may arise from an imperfect communication within the team. The functional method refers already by definition to a context: which societal problem is solved with what kind of legal construction? Örücü 2006E. See also Bussani & Mattei 2000, p. 29-48.The ‘Ius Commune Casebooks for the Common Law of Europe’ were also set up in the nineties, in view of ‘uncovering common principles already underlying existing laws’ and to ‘enable students from across Europe and beyond to study the same leading cases and materials’.Also in judicial and legislative practice at the European level, some common-core comparative research has been carried out (Pescatore 1980; Van Der Mensbrugghe 2003).So, looking for the common core of many areas of law is done in legal practice (European administration, legislation and court practice), in legal education and in legal scholarship. Legal research and … Every discipline develops its own concepts. Siems 2014  M. Siems, Comparative Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Dannemann, ‘In Search of System Neutrality: Methodological Issues in the Drafting of European Contract Law Rules’, in: M. Adams & J. Bomhoff, Practice and Theory in Comparative Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012, p. 96-119. Samuel, An Introduction to Comparative Law Theory and Method, Oxford: Hart Publishing 2014, p. 81-82. In his law-in-context approach, Rodolfo Sacco has been focusing on the ‘legal formants’, on what has made the law as it is. ‘Property’, for instance, includes a claim (of non-interference), a liberty (to use) and a power (to transfer the property rights partly or fully). What makes functionalism easier than the other ‘methods’ listed, is that it requires a less thorough analysis of the broader cultural context, if any, and, hence, is more accessible to the average legal researcher. While almost everyone has heard of human rights, few will have reflected in depth on what human rights are, where they originate from and what they mean. McPherson, The Reception of English Law Abroad, Brisbane: Supreme Court of Queensland Library 2007, ch. Much will depend on the focus of the research and on the available knowledge with the involved researchers, time and financial means when choosing the type and size of the law-in-context approach. Lambert 1900E. Whereas some limited social science research may be feasible within the context of one’s own legal system, for foreign countries this will, as a rule, be excluded within the frame of research in law carried out individually.Much will depend on the focus of one’s research and on the available sources. Differences may then appear to be just differences in stages of development of legal systems, or differences as to the outcome of ongoing tensions between two opposite views which remain latent in the compared societies, one view taking priority in one society, at least for some time, whereas the other view has become dominant in another legal system (a little like the victories and losses of ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ political parties in parliamentary elections in the Western world). At that time, there was a focus on comparing rules in different societies.8xThe idea was also to find the ‘ideal legislation’. (information on the law elsewhere and a better understanding thereof), (b) comparative law as an instrument of evolutionary and taxonomic science (common evolutions, diachronic changes, legal families), (c) contributing to one’s own legal system (understanding it better, including the resistance of its traditions, improving it, using it as a means for interpreting the constitution), and (d) harmonization of law.

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