Introduction to European Legal History
Full course description
This course provides an introduction to European legal history, from Roman Antiquity to the present day. The focus of this course is on ‘external legal history’, meaning the study of the law in its broad historical context, and including both the development of legal science and the ‘law in action’, that is, the practice of law. The history of specific legal concepts and institutions (i.e., internal legal history) is not a main focus of this course. However, attention will be paid to the historical development of contract law. The objective here is to place the concept of ‘contract’, which you will study using historical source material, into the more general context of external legal history. The following topics are dealt with:
- Roman Law in Antiquity;
- The rediscovery and study of Roman Law in Italy (12th – 15th century);
- Judicial Humanism in France (16th century);
- The development of law in the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (17th century);
- Enlightenment and codification (18th/19th century); and
- German ‘Pandectism’ (19th century). This course will also devote some attention to the development of law in England, which differs from that on the continent of Western Europe.
Facilitating students to reflect on the law from a European, comparative perspective. Providing knowledge on the origins of the differences between the European systems of law and their similarities.
- R. Lesaffer, European Legal History. A Cultural and Political Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009 (or later edition).
- R. Feenstra & M Ahsmann, Contract. ‘Contract’ and ‘freedom of contract’ in historical perspective (available in EleUM; also through printing on demand).
- CALI Self-study modules (available in EleUM). • Selected Readings: available through Student Portal