A History of European Law (Making of Europe) by Paolo Grossi

By Paolo Grossi

This e-book explores the improvement of legislations in Europe from its medieval origins to the current day, charting the transformation from legislations rooted within the Church and native neighborhood in the direction of a attractiveness of the centralised, secular authority of the country. exhibits how those adjustments mirror the broader political, monetary, and cultural advancements inside ecu historyDemonstrates the variety of traditions among eu states and the probabilities and boundaries within the look for universal eu values and ambitions

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This is why St Thomas himself, in his definition of lex (‘law’), identifies it as a product of reason and thought: the law is not used to project a despotic will upon a community of subjects, but rather to keep that community in order (it is a ‘reasoned structure directed towards the common good’). The collective consciousness still does not think of the prince as a legislator – that is as a maker of laws. His duty of reading the text of nature will not produce universal and authoritative principles but will rather set the specific parameters of true justice.

The medieval legal system favours procedures that provide effective resolutions with regard to land, particularly where agricultural activity is involved. The Roman opposition between owner and occupier appears not to obtain in the medieval period. Many occupiers of land under licence – particularly those who seek to improve the land’s productivity in the long term – gain a status of para-ownership thanks to an unobtrusive but continuous erosion of formal property rights. The practice of lawyers in the early Middle Ages, although rough at the edges and lacking in technical sophistication, is already making advances which, in the late Middle Ages, will be formalized into a fully rounded body of legal thought.

The city-states, meanwhile, had only recently emerged from the sway of empire after a bitter struggle; they drafted statutes with a much wider compass, although still somewhat haphazard and lacking in any aspiration to completeness. These statutes squarely address the common law/local law issue, deciding for the precedence of local law. Does this mean there was a hierarchy for sources of law? That is what we would have to conclude if we saw the medieval Italian city-state as a sovereign entity when it declares the precedence of its own laws over the ius commune.

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