The first Institute of Comparative Law in the United States will be founded at Harvard this Fall to afford the students of law in the newly enlarged Harvard Law School a concrete basis of ideas from the law of other countries on which to build the legal reforms of the future.
This carries out the idea expressed three years ago in the pamphlet entitled "The Harvard Law School: Its History. Its Development. Its Needs." There it was said. "There are many signs that our law is on the eve of a period of creative activity analogous to the two classical creative eras in our local history the 17th century, which made the feudal land law of mediaeval England into a system which could go around the world in the 19th, and the time just after the Revolution when English Institutions and English legal doctrines were made over to conform to an ideal of American society by a criterion of applicability to American conditions.
Comparative Law Takes New Life
"In each of these eras lawyers turned to comparative law to give concrete content to ideas of what the law should be . . . It is not an accident that comparative law, after decades of quiescence, is taking on new life in this country. If we are to proceed wisely in creative juristic activity in the complex society of today, we must study scientifically the legal materials of the whole world."
It is that scientific study of the legal materials of the Civil law of Europe and South America which the Institute intends to carry on. The Library of Continental and South-American Law at the School is remarkably complete: these facilities exceed the opportunities offered at any other school.
The new Institute is to be under the leadership of Professor Josef Redlich. Minister of Finance under the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Government, one-time Professor Public Law at the University of Vienna, and now Fairchild Professor of Comparative Public Law at the Harvard Law School. Professor Redlich is the author of "Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria" one of the more discussed historical biographies of last winter.