AUSTIN, Texas On Nov. 15, Professor Basil Markesinis became the first foreigner to give a public lecture at the highest French court, the Court of Cassation, in Paris. The lecture, "Unity or Division: The Search for Similarities in Contemporary European Law," was attended by 567 top judges, civil servants, professors, and ministers.
In his speech, Markesinis linked the need to find a methodology for comparing systems and using each countrys experience by examining litigated situations. By focusing on specifics, he said, "One realizes that the problems are the same and that the solutions tend to be similar or analogous. If and when they are not, its because the problem confronting the lawyer is, at its core, a philosophical, moral, economic or political one, often incapable of a right answer or even one answer only. But at that stage one realizes that the problem is no longer French, English, or American, Christian, Jewish or Muslim, but a universal one and, what is more, one to which lawyers, alone, cannot supply the solution. The search for an answer requires an inter-disciplinary effort and all that the lawyer does is, in the end, formulate in legal terms the solution that society has chosen to adopt."
Markesinis is the world's leading English-language authority on European private law and holds seven doctorates. In addition to holding UT Law's Jamail Regents Chair in Law and directing UT Laws Institute for Transnational Law, he is a member of the American Law Institute, and an elected Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Belgian Academy, the Academy of Athens, and the Royal Dutch Academy. In addition, his work has been honored with the highest national awards from the presidents of Germany, Italy, Greece, France, and from the Queen of England. He currently holds a joint appointment with the University College of London.