Friday, 21 August 2009

European Contract Law (again)


A brief follow-up to the previous post: my re-emerging interest in European Contract Law is due to the fact that I will be teaching a course on this topic at the Central European University in Budapest next week. This also meant that I had to get more familiar with the discussions about the DCFR: in particular, I found the report of the assessment by Simon Whittaker and the House-of-Lords report worth reading.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The most common terms in Civil Codes

A while ago I played a little bit with Wordle (a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide”) and “examined” the top 50 words used in the text of the DCFR (for non-Europeans: that’s essentially the draft for a future “European Civil Code”). See previous post here. I thought it may also be interesting to compare the most frequent terms of the DCFR with the German BGB and the French Code Civil (omitting property law, family law, and law of succession). In addition, I considered two common law “codes”, namely, the Indian Contract Act and the US UCC (which, to be sure, deal with less/different topics than the DCFR). See below the results of the top ten words (Wordle automatically omits common English terms – and I have also omitted terms such as “article”, “section”, “may”).
It can be seen that six of the top German terms but only four of the top French, Indian, and US terms are also in the DCFR’s top ten list. One can also to look at individual terms: e.g. it is interesting that the word “obligation” is only a top word in the DCFR, that “must” is only a top word in the German and French codes, and that the Indian Act and the UCC use financial terms (“pay” etc) more frequently. Finally, needless to say, I am aware of the limits of this exercise (this is just a blog post!) – the importance obviously depends on the context in which a word is used, and the use of certain words is also likely to be influenced by purely linguistic preferences (or just how the German and French codes have been translated).

Friday, 7 August 2009

Reflections on blogging

  • Which topics? everything I find interesting. Though I like blogs that have a clear focus, I enjoy the freedom to blog about various topics (in this respect it may also be read as “seems legal”).
  • Why not more controversial? Ok, I don’t really blog about everything. I'm not important enough that people care about my political views. And I wouldn't like to put very private information online. 
  • Why pictures, cartoons etc.? There are places where it is good to act seriously and conservatively (after all, I'm still a lawyer). So, I really enjoy it that blogging can be different ... 
  • Who is your blog for? Well, I don’t know. Some posts may be a source of reference for myself (e.g., “the what interested me” posts). I also try to promote my own research, assuming that people who come across my blog my also be interested in my papers. Some posts may also really be for everyone interested in a particular topic: e.g., if you google “Cartesio ECJ” my blog post is on fifth position – so it’s not unlikely that a few people may have actually read it....