Recent cross-national studies of the institutional prerequisites of economic growth have identified common law systems as superior to those of civil law. The assumption is that all common law systems share a similarity of structure and law which creates an environment facilitating investment and contract enforcement. Yet, due to its evolutionary nature, common law is not everywhere the same, nor is the historical development of the common law similar in all countries. This paper makes this point by examining the political development of common law in India and Kenya, in order to compare their legal institutions and histories. Both of these countries adopted common law through its transplantation in the context of colonial domination rather than organically. The paper concludes that the two countries, though sharing the common law, had very different colonial experiences of legal development. Moreover, once Kenya and India achieved independence, political circumstances affected institutional development and the application of law in each country.

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Copyright © 2006 Taylor and Francis Online.

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DOI: 10.1080/14662040600831636

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Joireman, Sandra F. "The Evolution of the Common Law: Legal Development in Kenya and India." Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 44, no. 2 (2006): 190-210. doi:10.1080/14662040600831636.