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A History of European Law

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5294-5
224 pages
March 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of European Law (140515294X) cover image


This book explores the development of law in Europe from its medieval origins to the present day, charting the transformation from law rooted in the Church and local community towards a recognition of the centralised, secular authority of the state.
  • Shows how these changes reflect the wider political, economic, and cultural developments within European history
  • Demonstrates the diversity of traditions between European states and the possibilities and limitations in the search for common European values and goals
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Table of Contents

Preface viii

Preliminaries x

1 Medieval Roots 1

I. A Legal Society Under Construction: The Workshop of Legal Practice 1

II. Medieval Maturity: The Laboratory of Learning 19

2 The Foundations of the Modern Legal System 39

3 Journeys in Contemporary Law 138

Further Reading 163

Notes 169

Bibliography 178

Index 190

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Author Information

Paolo Grossi (born in Florence in 1933) is Professor of History of Medieval and Modern Law at the University of Florence, and a member of the Accademia dei Lincei. He has recently been appointed   judge in the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic. His most recent publications include Italian Civil Lawyers: An Historical Profile (2002), Law between Power and the Judicial System (2005), Society, Law, State: A Recovery for Law (2007), The Medieval Judicial System (2008) and First Lesson on Law (2008).
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"With that said, it remains a remarkable work written by a master of his craft. It conveys complex ideas effortlessly and picks out interesting themes throughout." (The Edinburgh Law Review, 1 September 2011)


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