European Law in the Past and the Future: Unity and Diversity over Two Millennia

European Law in the Past and the Future: Unity and Diversity over Two Millennia

European Law in the Past and the Future: Unity and Diversity over Two Millennia

European Law in the Past and the Future: Unity and Diversity over Two Millennia

Synopsis

As Europe moves towards economic and political unification, many wonder why legal unification occurs so slowly. R.C. Van Caenegem considers the historical reasons behind this diversity, stressing the adoption of the classical law of the Romans and the influence of the rise of the nation states. The impact of politics on legal development is another key factor. The book concludes with a consideration of the ongoing debate on the desirability of European legal unification.

Excerpt

In recent years I have had the privilege of teaching a course on European legal history in the Magister Iuris Communis Programme in the University of Maastricht. The classes were small and consisted of students who had already obtained degrees in Law at home. They came from various countries and continents, from Sweden to Brazil and from Ireland to Iran, and were a receptive audience, whom it was a pleasure to teach. Nor did they only listen, but they also asked interesting questions and engaged in lively debates.

The present book is the outcome of those Maastricht lectures and owes much to the suggestions and questions which were put to me by the students and also to the discussions I had with my colleagues in the Maastricht Law Faculty, who took a particular interest in the European legal past and the possibility of a common European law of the future. One of these colleagues I would like especially to name here is Professor Nicholas Roos, who took the initiative of entering European legal history in the Magister Iuris Communis Programme and of inviting me to lecture on it. To all of them I express my warmest thanks.

The present book does not attempt to give a general survey, but merely presents a number of topics which most appealed to my students and hopefully will interest the wider public which appreciates the importance of the law for the future of Europe and indeed of the world. Some of the themes are essentially historical – such as the origin of the nineteenth-century German civil code; some are also comparative–sush as the contrast . . .

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