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The History of Law in Europe

An Introduction Bart Wauters and Marco de Benito, Professors of Law, IE University, Spain
Comprehensive and accessible, this book offers a concise synthesis of the evolution of the law in Western Europe, from ancient Rome to the beginning of the twentieth century. It situates law in the wider framework of Europe’s political, economic, social and cultural developments.
Extent: 200 pp
Hardback Price: $110.00 Web: $99.00
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 075 5
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $39.95 Web: $31.96
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 077 9
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Comparative Law
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • European Law
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Theory
Comprehensive and accessible, this book offers a concise synthesis of the evolution of the law in Western Europe, from ancient Rome to the beginning of the twentieth century. It situates law in the wider framework of Europe’s political, economic, social and cultural developments.

Offering a readily graspable and sound structure, chapters are organized according to the civil law systems and common law systems. Each chapter is built around the evolution of the four sources of the law: legal science, legislation, courts and customary law, set chronologically against the relevant historical context. Throughout this in-depth presentation of the key determinants in European legal history, Bart Wauters and Marco de Benito allow readers to understand how the law arose and evolved in Europe as a shared language, of which its different national laws are but dialectal expressions – with the unique exception, perhaps, of English common law, whose peculiarity is likewise due to accidents of history which are themselves explored.

With its elegant comparative approach, this book will appeal to European Law students and scholars looking for a concise, yet academically sound, account of the history of law in Europe.
‘The authors have navigated this project with aplomb and insight. Most worthwhile books on the legal history Europe are massive or focus on one aspect. The authors have presented a book that is truly an introduction, orienting a reader to the subject in manageable and understandable manner. Yet they have accomplished more than just a summary. Through examples of legal texts, insights into relevant persons and jurisprudential movements, and the contextualization in culture and politics, the writers effectively elucidate the different periods and their character.. . . The History of Law in Europe would serve well as a first text in legal history for students, or for anyone who desires an introduction to the subject.’
– Legal issues Journal

‘The rule of law and property rights were the “secret weapons” that made Western Europe and its offshoots in North America and Oceania democratic and prosperous. How did this European legal system come to be? To answer this question, Bart Wauters and Marco de Benito offer us a fresh overview of the history of law in Europe, dealing with both civil and common law, from Roman times through to its codification. This book is a stimulating, lucid, and imaginative read.’
– Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, University of Pennsylvania, US

‘Wauters and de Benito’s The History of Law in Europe is an ideal first port of call for anybody who wants to quickly get to grips with European legal history. Succinct, the book offers far more than a simple summary of the subject. Providing snippets of the social, political and intellectual development of the law, it lures the reader to further explore Europe’s legal past.’
– R.C.H. Lesaffer, Tilburg Law School, the Netherlands

‘The History of Law in Europe: An Introduction is a short companion to legal European history, written for students or non-specialists interested in this crucial aspect of western History. The development of the history from Roman law to the bourgeois age is exposed with clarity and balance, according to the classical historiography. The last chapter is devoted to the common law and it allows a dialogue between all the European legal traditions. Overall this is an excellent book for starting to learn legal history.’
– Rafael Ramis-Barceló, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

‘This fascinating and powerful epitome of the history of European law offers a comprehensive overview of its legal tradition, analysed through scientific research. Its contribution to the present literature is highly appreciated.’
– Fernando Reinoso Barbero, The Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Contents: Introduction 1. Roman Law 2. The Early Middle Ages 3. The Late Middle Ages 4. The Early Modern Age 5. The Bourgeois Age 6. Common Law Index