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Book reviews

18 April 11

Reviews of International Private Law (Crawford & Carruthers); Criminal Evidence and Procedure: An Introduction (Brown)

by Alastair Brown, David J Dickson

International Private Law (3rd edition)

E B Crawford and J M Carruthers
PUBLISHER: W GREEN
ISBN: 978 0 414017757
PRICE: £45

The publication of a third edition of any textbook tells us at least two things. The first is that the law with which it deals has been subject to significant development since the second edition. The second is that the book has been found useful by, and gained the respect of, the branch or branches of the profession for whom it is written. It is easy to see why these things are true of Crawford and Carruthers on International Private Law.

It is the European Union programme to make a reality of the area of freedom, security and justice which is the main driver for change in international private law, even more than it was for the second edition, published only five years ago. The authors describe the EU’s “ambitious and wide ranging programme of harmonisation of law”, take account of the Lisbon Treaty, and record that European changes have affected not only civil and commercial jurisdiction (“the most active and difficult area”), but also choice of law, recognition and enforcement of judgments, and related procedural topics. Perhaps it is inevitable that new editions will be required every five years or so, given that the relevant EU programmes are adopted with that timescale. An absence of significant development during that time would represent a failure in implementation of the policies adopted.

Of course, change in the subject matter of a book does not make a new edition a good one. An excellent second edition is, however, a good starting point for a third edition – and these authors had an excellent second edition from which to start.

I road tested that second edition in 2009, when I found myself needing to pass the Faculty of Advocates exam in private international law, a subject which I avoided (unwisely) at university many years ago. The second edition gave me the framework and material within which to understand (and pass) the subject. This new edition maintains the standard and would be as useful to the current student as the second edition was to me.

It is, however, far from being a mere student text. As well as addressing the theory of the subject with clarity (especially in relation

to difficult areas such as renvoi), Professors Crawford and Carruthers offer detailed consideration of key subjects such as jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters, contractual matters, cross-border insolvency, and enforcement of foreign decrees. Each chapter closes with a summary, which should be of particular assistance to the practitioner who needs the essentials in a hurry.

The third edition of this book is as well written and useful as its predecessors; and it offers the only up-to-date account of the subject from a Scots law perspective. It seems to me to be an essential purchase for anyone whose clients ever go furth of the jurisdiction.

Alastair Brown
 

Criminal Evidence and Procedure: An Introduction (3rd edition)

Alastair N Brown

PUBLISHER: AVIZANDUM
ISBN: 978 1 904968320
PRICE: £48

In the preface to the third edition of this book, Sheriff Brown indicates that he aims to provide practitioners with a vade mecum on criminal evidence and procedure.

The strengths of this erudite, clearly written text lie in two distinct approaches taken by the author. The first is the holistic, integrated approach to the issues considered where so often the practice and understanding of evidence and procedure are interwoven. The second major strength is the explanation and discussion of why a particular piece of legislation was brought into force.

This is particularly well done when the complex issue of sched 8 certification of copy

and business documents is considered. Here, Dr Brown explains the intention and evidential value of certification while explaining the background with reference to the Scottish Law Commission report and case law. This slim volume ought not to belie its outstanding value to practitioners.

This is an essential, up-to-date text.

David J Dickson, Solicitor Advocate
 

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