Washington Law Review


John N. Hazard


Common law lawyers feel themselves to be on unfamiliar ground when they try to understand the law of the Continent. They have learned to look at judicial decisions and to be sceptical of statutes until they see how they are applied by the courts. Civil law lawyers have not aided their common law colleagues. Civil law lawyers belittle the importance of court decisions and present their codes alone for examination. Soviet law, as one of the civil law family, has likewise been presented usually in terms of statutes, both to Soviet law students and to outsiders seeking to understand. There are no Soviet "casebooks." Reported decisions exist but they are rarely brought to the attention of foreigners. Soviet jurists have written at all times since the revolution that the Anglo-American system of judicial precedent is completely foreign to the Soviet system of law. Only recently has the function of the Soviet court come into controversy and evoked special interest among Soviet lawyers.

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