Scholars usually attribute the term legal transplants in comparative law to Alan Watson. It refers to moving a rule, institution, or system of law from one country to another, or from one people to another. The study of legal transplants investigates legal rules and procedures not in isolation, but in the context of examining equivalent rules and procedures in at least two systems.

Legal transplants, or borrowing legal materials from one place to the importing legal system, often occur under a system of dominance, such as colonialism. This has implications for economic development, cultural clashes, and the study of institutions in postcolonial societies. Transplants have occurred throughout history. They include the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1780 BCE), the Roman Twelve Tables (451–450 BCE), and British ...

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