To start with, the "global village" or the increased globalization of world trade, involving the need to engage in commerce with nations with unfamiliar legal systems. For another thing, the codification of multilateral associations like the European Union, the African Union, or the Arab League has demanded harmonization of laws of their member states. Moreover, there are publications and Internet resources that assemble legal materials from several jurisdictions, without necessarily undertaking comparisons, but they can be seen as "tools of the trade" for comparative lawyers (Norman 2006).
Over the last 100 years, comparative law has emancipated into several distinct branches such as comparative criminal law, comparative tax laws, comparative civil law, comparative administrative law, comparative trade laws, comparative commercial law, comparative cyber laws, Comparative Intellectual Property Law, comparative constitutional law, and comparative constitutional law.
According to the prevalent view, Montesquieu is regarded as the ‘father’ of comparative law. His comparative approach is obvious in the following excerpt from Chapter III of Book I of his masterpiece, De l’esprit des lois:
They should be in relation to the climate of each country, to the quality of its soil, to its situation and extent, to the principal occupation of the natives, whether husbandmen, huntsmen, or shepherds: they should have relation to the degree of liberty which the constitution will bear. to the religion of the inhabitants, to their inclinations, riches, numbers, commerce, manners, and customs."
Also, in Chapter XI (entitled ‘How to compare two different Systems of Laws’) of Book XXIX, he advises that
‘to determine which of those systems [i.e. the French and English systems for the punishment of false witnesses] is most agreeable to reason, we must take them each as a whole and compare them in their entirety.’
Yet another excerpt where Montesquieu’s comparative approach is evident is the following one from Chapter XIII of Book XXIX:
‘As the civil laws depend on the political institutions, because they are made for the same society, whenever there is a design of adopting the civil law of another nation, it would be proper to examine beforehand whether they have both the same institutions and the same political law.’
Applicability of the Comparative Concepts
The applicability of comparative concepts is still an open question posed to the discipline of comparative law. Comparative concepts are concepts that are applied in micro-comparative research. They provide with criteria on the basis of which the rules of different legal systems may be compared.