Is Nordic Law a Legal Family?

Is Nordic Law a Legal Family?

This is a past event

Seminar: Is Nordic Law a Legal Family? by Professor Jaakko Husa

As is well known, comparative law scholars distinguish between things like common law, civil law, mixed law, religious law, and indigenous law. This kind of macro-comparative law has been taking place from the late 1800s. In essence, common law and civil law have been and still are the key components of comparative law’s intellectual fabric since the late nineteenth century. Underlying there is a specific way to think about law: legal systems (broadly understood) are grouped into larger wholes that have something important in common. The place of Nordic law varies in these groupings. For some it is a legal family in its own right, for others it is merely a sub-group of civil law. I shall argue that Nordic law constitutes a legal family of its own. The argument is based on an assertion that there are significant legal, cultural, and historical family connections between Nordic countries. These have, in turn, produced many kinds of similarities when it comes to law. Importantly, it is argued that Nordic law is indeed a legal family, not only a tradition or culture. The presentation relies on images of Nordic family that are derived from painting, theatre, and film.  

Before the seminar one may read The Stories We Tell Ourselves – About Nordic Law in Specific (2011) which raises relevant ideas. Available on SSRN: 


Professor Jaakko Husa is a leading figure in in comparative legal studies, legal globalisation, comparative constitutional studies, and legal linguistics. Research is mostly concentrated on theoretical and methodological issues. Jaakko is Full Professor in Law and Globalisation at the University of Helsinki. He is a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and a Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. Jaakko has held visiting positions at the universities of Edinburgh, Hong Kong (HKU), Maastricht, and Riga Graduate School of Law (Latvia). His most recent books are Interdisciplinary Comparative Law (Edward Elgar 2022) and Introduction to Comparative Law (2nd edn, Hart/Bloomsbury 2023). Jaakko is also a co-editor of the forthcoming third edition of the massive Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law.  

Professor Jaakko Husa
Hosted by
School of Law
New King's NK4

Event is free to attend.