Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Cricket and baseball are the summer national pastimes of England and America. They both involve players, one of whom propels a hard leather ball toward another with the intent of getting that other "out."The hitter tries to avoid getting out and attempts to hit the ball as far as possible. Umpires preside. Despite all these and other common factors, the games are different. Baseball is brash and dusty, and umpires endure frequent abuse; cricket is restrained and village greenish, and umpires rarely suffer abuse. Both games draw from history and culture.Where transplanted the games assume a different guise. In the West Indies a Caribbean passion possesses cricket. In Central America a Latin bravado inspires baseball.Much the same can be said of the common law. To the American,cricket and English law seem confined and stodgy. Baseball and American law to the Englishman seem overwrought and brazen. A book to bridge our knowledge gap in sports has not been written. Fortunately,however, Professors Patrick S. Atiyah and Robert S. Summers have written a book that should cure us of our legal ignorance and do much

to lead us to a deeper understanding of the common law. The common law is our heritage but the way it is employed differs in each country. English courts would not dare, as their American cousins have, judicially to create strict liability for defective products or to replace the defense of contributory negligence with comparative fault. These tasks are legislative. The role of the courts and their relationship with other lawmaking organs differ distinctly. This difference is a product of history, political philosophy, and culture.Professors Atiyah and Summers in Form and Substance in Anglo-American Law masterfully describe the differences in English and American law. But this work is no blind taxonomy of differences; their description is designed to validate a theory of the law. In this book comparative law informs legal theory. It is a significant contribution to modern jurisprudence.

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