Washington Law Review




The organization of the American Law Institute on February 23, 1923, represents the first, and so far the only general, effort of the profession to do something about the state of the law and to safeguard the legal system for the future. Itself an outgrowth of a voluntary committee headed by Elihu Root for the Establishment of a Permanent Organization for the Improvement of the Law, the Institute was a response to a situation of growing seriousness which threatened the survival of the common law. Faced bv an ever increasing volume of the decisions of the courts, which already numbered over one and three-quarter million reported cases, with that staggering total growing at the rate of more than twenty-five thousand a year, the Institute recognized that unless a new factor promoting certainty and clarity could be found to blaze a path through the labryinth of often irreconcilable decisions a forced abandonment of our common law system of expressing and developing law through judicial application of existing rules to new fact combinations would be necessary, its place to be taken by rigid legislative codes. It was in an attempt to supply this factor that the Institute's restatements of the law were begun. Restatements of the law of Contracts, Agency, and Conflict of Laws have already appeared, to this list are now added the first two volumes of the Restatement of Torts.

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