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65 La. L. Rev. 775 (2004-2005)
The Sources of Law and the Value of Precedent: A Comparative and Empirical Study of a Civil Law State in a Common Law Nation

handle is hein.journals/louilr65 and id is 785 raw text is: The Sources of Law and the Value of Precedent: A
Comparative and Empirical Study of a Civil Law
State in a Common Law Nation
Mary Garvey Algero*
This Article provides a contemporary and comparative
examination of the sources of law and the value ofprecedent
in Louisiana, a state whosejudicial system resembles those of
common lawjudicial systems of the United States, but whose
private civil law is rooted in the civil law traditions ofFrance
and Spain, which were prevalent in the territory ofLouisiana
in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.
The Article examines the doctrines of stare decisis  and
'jurisprudence constante and the value of precedent in
select common law and civil law jurisdictions, then focuses
on Louisiana as an example ofa jurisdiction which, like many
jurisdictions worldwide, has valued precedent in such a way
that it is extremely influential, but not always binding on the
courts. The Article refers to this practice as systemic
respect for jurisprudence  because the value of a precedent
is directly related to the status in the legal system of the court
deciding the prior case. An empirical study of the Louisiana
judiciary on the sources of law and the value of precedent in
Louisiana complements a discussion of these issues based on
scholarly works on Louisiana law and Louisiana judicial
opinions. The author concludes that many jurisdictions, both
common law- and civil law-based, are gravitating to
systemic respect for jurisprudence and away from strict
use of the traditional stare decisis and jurisprudence
constante doctrines. The Article then proposes law to codify
the principle of systemic respect for jurisprudence.
Copyright 2005, by LOUISIANA LAW REVIEW.
* Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. The
author expresses deepest gratitude to the 150 members of the Louisiana judiciary
who responded to the Survey ofLouisiana Judges Regarding Sources Relied on To
Decide Cases, which the author distributed in 2003. The results of this survey were
invaluable in the research and writing of this article. The author gratefully
acknowledges the research assistance of Brandi White, Jennifer Englander, and
Maggie Dierker, which was made possible by the support of the Alfred J. Bonomo,
Sr. family and the Rosaria Sarah Lanasa Memorial Scholarship Fund. The author
also thanks Professors Katherine Venturatos Lorio and Monica Hof Wallace for
commenting on drafts of this Article.

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