Conceptualising the Vertical Dimension of Language Problems in Comparative Constitutional Law

In comparative constitutional law, language barriers are crucial. This involves two dimensions: The methodological challenges in translating foreign sources constitute a horizontal dimension; whereas structural challenges emerge when a legal system of certain (mostly European) countries are transplanted in other (non-European) jurisdictions. This is conceptualised by a vertical dimension. This paper will elucidate the latter and disentangle its complicated factors. First, transplanting law as a ruling instrument, without underlying background, distortions often occur in legal translation and interpretation. It may confuse the legal recipients and also comparatists. Second, such confusion appears especially in postcolonial countries where legal colonialism is perpetuated via legal terms interpreted by domestic elites and external analysts. Considering these, to avoid the formalistic comparison, a prudent and contextualised functional approach is required for more substantive comparison.