Legal history. L'histoire du droit. Rechtsgeschichte. История права. Storia giuridica. Правната история. Historia prawa. Historia del derecho. 法制史. Pravna povijest. Právní dějiny. Jjuridisk historie. Juridische geschiedenis.νομική ιστορία.

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Comparative Legal Tradition

Course Overview

Lectures

This course traces the comparative historical development of both private and public law, from the oldest legal civilizations (cuneiform and Egyptian law), up to ancient, medieval and modern legal traditions. The major objective is to enable a proper and in-depth understanding of the dynamic of earlier and contemporary legal systems, based upon the constant interaction with the society and other legal systems. This goal could be reached only through a deep and historical insight in the complex process of lawmaking and the evolution of law. Along with the macro-comparative approach, this course analyses specific significant legal notions and institutions, developing and changing gradually through the course of time. One can properly interpret them today only through recognizing their compound historical legal background. This is why legal history and the comparative method are to be used as inescapable tools in proper interpretation and understanding of present-day legal systems. Otherwise, they would have been viewed in a vacuum and as non-dynamic, petrified legal beings, without their own past and future, engendering a simplified and false image of law.

This course stresses, in particular, the European legal traditions and major legal families being born in Europe throughout centuries. But it also encompasses the legal traditions, which derived from it (such as the American legal system), as well as those which have affected it (oriental and the Islamic legal traditions). The overview of European legal tradition starts with the ancient Greek and Hellenistic legal civilizations, founding there many modern legal and political concepts. Particular attention is paid to the Roman law, principally in connection with its influence on medieval Byzantine, German and Canon Law tradition. Among medieval legal families, a significant place is reserved to treat origins of the Islamic legal tradition and the English common law.

However, particular attention in this course is paid to the consequences of different legal traditions emerging in the modern legal systems and in their mutual connections. A particular place in the course is reserved for the American legal and political tradition. It is how common law and civil law traditions are viewed comparatively, as well as differences and similarities between their own constituting elements (such as the English and American, or German and French legal traditions). In that context a number of modern civil codifications are focused (particularly French Code Civil, Austrian, German and Swiss Civil Codes, etc.), as well as historical development and traditions of modern political institutions as of a framework for the development of legal systems (particularly in England, the U.S., France, Switzerland, etc.). The course takes shortly into account the Socialist legal tradition as an important legal family of the 20th century. It ends with an analysis of contemporary processes in comparative law, detecting the actual global reach of legal families, influence of legal imperialism and legal transplants in the modern legal tradition, and in particularly with an overview of European integrations and harmonization of the EU law.

 

Belgrade                                                                                               Sima Avramovic

 

Copyright 2013, Sima Avramovic. All rights reserved.                   Edited by Viktor Milosavljevic (alan.watson@ius.bg.ac.rs)