John Owen Haley

Professor of Law

John Owen Haley is an internationally renowned scholar of comparative law with a special emphasis on Japan. His works have ranged from historical studies of law in Japan, Hispanic America and medieval Europe to contemporary issues of constitutional adjudication and contract law. His award-winning 1991 book, Authority without Power: Law and the Japanese Paradox, and his article, "The Myth of the Reluctant Litigant," are considered leading works in the field. Before joining Vanderbilt's law faculty, Professor Haley taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he served as director of the Asian Law Program and, briefly, of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He was also the founding Garvey, Shubert & Barer Professor of Law. From 2000-10, he taught in the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the first Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law and directed the Whitney R. Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies from 2002-07. He retired in 2010 as the William R. Orthwein Distinguished Professor of Law, Emeritus. He has also taught in Japan, Germany, Lithuania, Australia and, most recently, China. He is the author or editor of nine books and monographs, including casebooks on courses in comparative law and transnational litigation. Professor Haley's 2001 book, Antitrust in Germany and Japan: The First Fifty Years, 1947-1998, was the first comparative study of German and Japanese antitrust law in English. For his contributions to Japanese legal studies, he received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, which was conferred upon him by the Emperor of Japan in 2012. He is currently working on a study of criminal justice, tentatively titled Beyond Retribution: An Integrated Approach to Restorative Justice.

Research Interests

Comparative law, Japanese law

Representative Publications

  • The Spirit of Japanese Law, University of Georgia Press-Athens (paperback edition 2006)
  • “Constitutional Adjudication in Japan: Context, Structures, and Values,” 88 Washington University Law Review 1467 (2011)
    Full Text | HEIN
  • “The Evolution of Law: Political Foundations of Private Law in Medieval Europe and Japan,” in Debin Ma and Jan Luiten van Zanden, eds., Law and Long-Term Economic Change: A Eurasian Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2011)
  • "Why Study Japanese Law?," 58 The American Journal of Comparative Law 1 (2010)
    Full Text | HEIN
  • "Foundations of Governance and Law: An Essay on Law’s Evolution in Colonial Spanish America," Díkaion, Año 23 - Núm. 18 - 163-203 - Chía, Colombia (2009)
  • "Rethinking Contract Practice and Law in Japan," 1 Journal of East Asia and International Law 47 (2008)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "The Japanese Judiciary: Maintaining Integrity, Autonomy and Public Trust," in Daniel H. Foote, ed., Law in Japan: A Turning Point, University of Washington Press-Seattle (2007)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "Waging War: Japan's Constitutional Constraints," 14 Constitutional Forum Constitutionnel 18 (No. 2, 2005)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "Error and Irony: Comparative Study of Origins and Development of Competition Policy in Postwar Germany and Japan," in Festschrift fur Wolfgang Fikentscher (1998)
  • "The Politics of Informal Justice: The Japanese Experience, 1922-1942," in The Politics of Informal Justice: Comparative Studies, Richard L. Abel, editor, Academic Press (1982)

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Contact Information

(615) 936-8394 (voice)
(615) 322-6631 (fax)
Room 276 (office)

Curriculum Vitae


LL.M. University of Washington
LL.B. Yale Law School
A.B. Princeton University