Sunday, 21 March 2021

code napoléon

Whilst not the first civil law legal codex introduced in Europe to make the system more equitable, comprehensive and self-consistent—replacing a framework of local feudal laws and microjurisdicitions in place prior to the Napoleonic Wars with the kingdoms of Bavaria and Prussia setting precedent, this set of laws drafted and enacted by a quorum of jurists on this day in 1804 represents one the most influential and wide-reaching change in early modern history, malleable and amenable to change adopted throughout the Western world and a template for developing and emerging nations. Rather than building on the medival laws that informed French courts and jurisprudence previously, framers reached further back to the sixth-century codification of Roman law, the Institutes of the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian the Great. Whereas previously civil life was governed by custom and privilege, the rule of law going forward prevented secret rules and application relied on due publication and promulgation, and while rulings could be cited as precedent, legal judgments carried no legislative weight, courts were encouraged to interpret the law by the prohibition of justice denied or dismissed due to insufficiency of the law.