Interpreting Codes

Large systematically codified bodies of law, such as the European codes or the UCC, gradually effect, or at least encourage, a different kind of legal culture, in which, as such codes are integrated within a national legal heritage, general clauses and principles become more salient within an expanded interpretive community. Because of the open texture of their rules, codes foster an altered legal posture; ancient judicial vigilance against the intrusive legislation may give way to a new ethos of cooperation in the development of law. To be sure, it remains uncertain whether the resulting law will be, in fact, “better,” or even more uniform.