Law Faculty hosts international conference on the history and future of the civil law tradition

The civil law tradition, which originated in Europe, has had a considerable influence globally. Over the weekend of 17 to 18 February 2018, a group of international scholars met at the Stellenbosch University Law Faculty to deliberate on aspects of the recent history and future of this tradition within Europe, as well as within some of the regions it influenced, most notably Southern Africa and South America. The local organiser of the conference was Professor Jacques du Plessis of the Law Faculty.

The conference was held under the auspices of the Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964 project, which is funded by the European Council and is headed by Professor Kaius Tuori of the University of Helsinki. A special feature of the group’s research is its focus on certain jurists who played a major role in the development of civil law in Europe after the Second World War, in reaction to National Socialism, which was hostile to Roman law and dismissed it as universal or ‘global’ law. These jurists, by contrast placed great emphasis on a shared culture, values and the supremacy of the rule of law in their study of the civil law in Europe.

The papers covered a broad range. The South African participants especially focussed on the relevance of the civil law tradition beyond Europe, and on how its fundamental values and concepts could relate to and interact with indigenous African values. Contributions on South American law in turn reflected on the continued relevance of Roman law studies in legal teaching and legal harmonisation, and on how European scholars influenced the interpretation of certain basic concepts. Finally, some of the papers also considered positivist approaches in modern-day Europe and how they relate to natural law thinking and the recognition of fundamental rights.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.