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April 11, 2003

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330

Top British and French Justices Celebrate UT Law Case Translations

Top British and French Justices Celebrate Website Created by a UT Law Joint Venture
Project
translates French and German Cases into English for comparative study

PARIS, France — On Wednesday 26th March the First President of the French Supreme Court, M. Guy Canivet, and the Court's Procureur Général, M. Jean Bourgelin, hosted a special event in the Grand Hall of the Cour de Cassation to launch a website of leading French and German decisions published for the first time in English. The website was created by The University of Texas’ Institute of Transnational Law in association with its partner institution, the Institute of Global Law of University College London. Both institutes are directed by Professor Basil Markesinis, who holds chairs at the Universities of both Texas and London.

The site is funded by the M.D. Anderson Foundation of Houston, Vinson & Elkins LLC and Mr. Joe Jamail of Jamail & Kolius. Its day-to-day operations are managed by Mr Justice Dominique Hascher of the French Supreme Court, Professor Basil Markesinis QC, FBA and Dr. Jörg Fedtke.

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, was the keynote speaker; and he, Lord Woolf (Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales), and Lord Phillips (Master of the Rolls) addressed the gathering and praised the Texas/English/French initiative not only for its originality but also for its immense value to the legal profession across national boundaries.

In his address to the assembled audience of over five hundred leading jurists, judges, academics and civil servants from both countries, Professor Markesinis singled out the importance of cultural links in providing stable relations in times of political upheaval. He stressed the significance of projects such as these for businessmen and lawyers who need to acquire a better understanding of each other’s legal environments in an ever-shrinking world. Thanking Joe Jamail, Harry Reasoner and Gib Gayle for the support they have given to the activities of the Texas Institute, he said that events such as these demonstrated the importance of academics and practitioners working closely together as well as the significant role that the private sector can play in the contemporary educational environment.

He then concluded: “I have myself seen at first hand the enormous services that eminent and public-spirited colleagues such as Joe, Harry, and Gib have rendered to the Texas Law Faculty, and today I feel proud to have repaid the confidence they placed in me by extending in such a dramatic way the reach of the UT Law School. It is not enough,” he continued, “to be a great law school; we must make sure that others across national boundaries come to realise how truly great we are.”

Talking to the School’s International Relations Officers he added: “I honestly believe that a law school that can claim among its members colleagues such Hans Baade, Inga Markovits, Dagmar Coster-Waltjen, Horatia Muir-Watt and Antonio Benjamin must surely be ranked among the top comparative centers in the world. The time has come for the entire American academic world to note what is happening in Texas. For all this we have to thank most sincerely Dean Sharlot for having started these initiatives and, most recently, Dean Powers for bringing to bear his formidable energy and persuasive powers in order to expand further the range of these activities.”

M. Yves Guéna, President of the Conseil Constitutionnel, and M. Renaud Denoix de Saint Marc, Vice President of the Counseil of d'Etat, shared these views and closed the proceedings by thanking Professor Markesinis for his long-standing efforts to “bridge legal cultures” and ensure that the different parts of the legal profession work more closely together. In their view, his work had offered a great service to the study of foreign law and the promotion of comparative methodology in more than one country.

Dean Bill Powers of the University of Texas School of Law said: "The translation work done by Basil and the Institute has been tremendous. I congratulate him and the Institute on accomplishing such an ambitious project, and I once again thank M.D. Anderson, Vinson & Elkins, and Joe Jamail for making it possible."

Professor Basil Markesinis is the world’s leading English-language authority on European private law. In addition to holding the Jamail Regents Chair in Law and directing UT Law’s Institute for Transnational Law, he holds simultaneously the Chair of Common and Civil Law at University College London. He is an honorary Queen's Counsel and holds doctorates or honorary doctorates from (in alphabetical order): Athens, Cambridge, Ghent, Munich, Oxford, and Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). At the University of Oxford, Markesinis held successively the Chairs of European Law and Comparative Law. He has authored or co-authored twenty-five books and more than one hundred legal articles which have been published in leading law journals in America, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands. He has lectured extensively in twenty-five different law faculties including Athens, Cornell, Ghent, Leiden, Michigan (Ann-Arbor), Munich, Paris I, Paris II, Rome, Siena, and Texas (at Austin), at all of which he has held either part-time (but tenured) Chairs or Visiting Professorships. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Belgian and the Royal Netherlands Academies, a Corresponding Fellow of the Academy of Athens, and a Member of the American Law Institute. In 2002 he was appointed Conseiller Scientifique du Premier Président de la Cour de Cassation (France) on matters of European law. He has received high decorations for his work on European law and integration from the Presidents of France (twice), Germany (three times), Greece, and Italy (three times). Most recently (2002) he was promoted by the President of Italy to the highest rank of the Italian Order of Merit – Knight Grand Cross – while the President of Germany awarded him the insignia of Knight Commander of the Order of Merit, in May 2003.

The site can be accessed at the Law School’s website at http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/transnational/ and on the University College London website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/global_law.