This book takes into account the history, aims and functions and enhanced importance of the subject in a rapidly shrinking world. It is the most comprehensive and accessible book of its kind, not only charting the historical origins of civil law and common law traditions, but also offering a flavour of other types of legal systems, such as EC law and systems in non-Western legal jurisdictions. It provides a comparative analysis of the legal approach to common areas of substantive law, the law of obligations, commercial and corporate law. The second edition offers a contemporary overview of the decline of the socialist legal tradition in Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany and the continuing problems encountered by the Russian Federation. It also offers a view on the new world order, evaluating theories of convergence.