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Comparative Legal Theory; Critical Legal Studies; legal education; Legal History; Legal Positivism; Legal Realism; rule of law; welfare state


The following essay is the new introduction for a republication of the conference proceedings of the famous comparative legal theory conference, held in Bremen (Germany) in 1986, between scholars from the Law Schools at Bremen and the University of Wisconsin. The complete proceedings are now being made available - for the first time - online in the German Law Journal. The proceedings were originally published in 1989 in a much revered "blue" volume, by Nomos Publishing House in Baden-Baden, Germany. The conference had brought together leading figures in critical legal thought from both the United States and Germany for a series of discussions on the evolution of legal thought in both countries from the 19th century onwards into the present, reflecting on the roles of courts, parliaments, law schools, the profession and students in the shaping of legal culture. The conference occurred at a crucial time in the development of legal thought - and practice. The post-World War II social consensus and the welfare state had come under considerable pressure, "law and economics" had begun its journey to become the most influential 'law & society' movement, deep-reaching political transformations were under way, in the United Kingdom, the US and in Germany conservative administrations had taken the reign, and meanwhile the globalization of markets had begun to unfold at breathtaking speed. Yet, the Berlin Wall was still standing - just about.The new introduction offers reflections - and invites feedback - on the past, the future and the "present" of the 1986 project as seen from today's perspective. In this new introduction, the two original conference conveners, David Trubek and Christian Joerges, are joined by Peer Zumbansen. The permission to prepare the original, not updated materials for online publication with the German Law Journal was generously granted by Nomos. The editorial responsibility for getting the issue into shape lay in the able hands of the GLJ Student Editorial Board at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and to all of these hardworking students go our sincerest thanks. We are also grateful to our authors, who stood by to answer all arising questions in the process of preparing this Symposium Issue.