Comparative Law in Germany: Yesterday’s Hobby or Tomorrow’s Science?
Authors: André Janssen
This article focusses on the significance of comparative law for the German private
law landscape in the 21st century. Is comparative law in 21st century Germany just a
hobby, a game of thought, an “intellectual adventure” tackled by a few bored specialists,
or is it perhaps more? It is maybe even tomorrow’s science? In order to answer these
research questions this contribution starts out with an outline of the emergence of
comparative law in Germany in general, followed by an examination of its current
significance in legal education, legal research, legal practice and in particular in legislation and
in the interpretation of private law by the courts. The article comes to the conclusion that
there is no “one size fits all answer” but that the value of comparative law in Germany
varies depending on the field examined.
Keywords: Comparative law, German private law, value of comparative law in Germany, contrasting function of comparative law, control or confirmation function of comparative law, cognitive function of comparative law, comparative law interpretation as “fifth method of interpretation