Some Personal Observations on Codification in Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico, a Spanish colony from 1493 to 1898, received most Spanish Codes and shared the Continental European Romano-Germanic legal culture to the turn of the twentieth century. The Island was ceded to the United States as a result of the Spanish defeat in the 1898 Spanish American War and has since received American Public (Constitutional, Administrative and Procedural Law) and Commercial Law and adopted many American legal methodologies (the role of precedent, inductive analysis, legal education methods). Since the 1970s the country, which has suffered many economic and social changes, has debated the so-called process of decodification and recodification, has examined the increasing codification of American Law, has debated its legal future and reaffirmed, at least somewhat, its Romano-Germanic tradition but, despite efforts, has not yet revised its main Private Law codes or adapted many American Common Law rules to its Civil Law tradition. It is, given its tradition, its economic and political ties with the United States and its goal to reaffirm itself as a cultural distinct country, to paraphrase a Canadian’s observation of her own country, as codified as possible under the current conditions.