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Carey Miller, D., Zimmermann, R. (Eds.) (1997). The Civilian Tradition and Scots Law. Aberdeen Quincentenary Essays. Duncker & Humblot.
Carey Miller, David L. and Zimmermann, Reinhard. The Civilian Tradition and Scots Law: Aberdeen Quincentenary Essays. Duncker & Humblot, 1997. Book.
Carey Miller, D, Zimmermann, R (eds.) (1997): The Civilian Tradition and Scots Law: Aberdeen Quincentenary Essays, Duncker & Humblot, [online]


The Civilian Tradition and Scots Law

Aberdeen Quincentenary Essays

Editors: Carey Miller, David L. | Zimmermann, Reinhard

Schriften zur Europäischen Rechts- und Verfassungsgeschichte, Vol. 20


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Book Details



On 10 February 1995 the University of Aberdeen celebrated its quincentenary. On that day in 1495 Pope Alexander VI had issued to Bishop William Elphinstone the founding Bull giving authority for the teaching of theology, Canon and civil law, medicine and the liberal arts. In the case of law, it was decided to mark the quincentenary by holding a symposium which would reflect upon the character and influence of the civilian tradition with special emphasis on Scotland. Scholars from Scotland, England, the Netherlands and Germany were asked to deliver papers on various aspects within the general theme: to identifying the impact of Roman law, Canon law and the subsequent ius commune across Europe, taking stock of the significance of the civilian tradition thus established in the modern national legal systems and assessing its relevance within the law of the European Union. These papers are published in the present volume. They offer a wide range of stimulating insights into the growth and the present state of the European legal tradition.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Summary of Contents 7
Table of Contents 9
Abbreviations 15
Introduction 17
David L. Carey Miller: A Scottish Celebration of the European Legal Tradition 19
I. Introduction 19
II. Where the Civilian Tradition Stands 21
1. Cultural Identity 22
2. Terminology, Labels and Maxims 24
3. Foundation Influence 26
4. Substantial Reception 33
III. The Dynamic of Scots Law 45
IV. Conclusion 49
Hector L. MacQueen: The Foundation of Law Teaching at the University of Aberdeen 53
I. The Elphinstonian Foundation 53
II. Law Teaching in King’s College 1514 – ca. 1700 60
III. The Background to Law Teaching in Aberdeen 63
IV. The Civil Law Tradition in Medieval Scotland 69
Looking Back: The Influence of Roman Law and Roman Legal Thinking in Europe 73
Peter G. Stein: The Medieval Rediscovery of the Roman Civil Law 75
I. Introduction 75
II. Roman Law in the Early Middle Ages 76
III. The Recovery of the Digest 77
1. The Discovery of the Digest 77
2. The Teaching of the Digest 79
IV. The Law School Becomes a University 80
V. The Effect of the Glossators on Roman Law 82
1. The Structure of Teaching at Bologna 82
2. Explaining the Texts 83
VI. Post-Glossatorial Developments 85
1. The Influence of Bologna 85
2. The Commentators 85
David Johnston: The General Influence of Roman Institutions of State and Public Law 87
I. Introduction 87
II. lus publicum 88
1. Classical Roman Law 88
2. The Later Development of ius publicum 89
3. Summary 90
III. Institutional and Constitutional Questions 91
1. Sovereignty and the Power of the Emperor 91
2. General Theories of imperium and iurisdictio in Classical Roman law 92
(a) Imperium 92
(b) Iurisdictio 93
(c) Conclusions 94
3. The Later Development of Public Law Concepts – Use of the Roman Texts and Terms 95
4. Bartolus 97
5. Jean Bodin 99
IV. Conclusions 100
Robert Feenstra: The Development of European Private Law: A Romanist Watershed? 103
I. Introduction 103
II. The bona fide Buyer of Moveable Property 106
1. Early Germanic Law 107
2. The Later Middle Ages 107
III. The European Science of Private Law 111
1. Starting Points of the European Science of Private Law 111
2. Other Watersheds 112
(a) Legal Humanism 113
(b) Natural Law 114
IV. Conclusions 115
J. J. Robertson: The Canon Law Vehicle of Civilian Influence with Particular Reference to Scotland 117
I. Introduction 117
II. The Scottish Dimension 118
III. Canonical Procedure in Scotland 118
IV. Scotland and the Sacra Romana Rota 121
V. Conclusion 125
Appendix 1 126
Appendix 2 129
William M. Gordon: A Comparison of the Influence of Roman Law in England and Scotland 135
I. Introduction 135
II. Roman Law 136
1. Roman Law and Civil Law 136
2. The Civilian Tradition 137
III. Scotland 139
1. Early Scots Law 139
2. The Institutional Period 140
3. The Effect of the Union with England 140
4. The European Union 142
IV. England 142
1. English Law in Splendid Isolation? 142
2. The Use of Civil Law in England 143
3. Legal Education and Interest in Civilian Ideas 144
V. Conclusion 147
W. D. H. Sellar: The Resilience of the Scottish Common Law 149
I. The Emergence of a Scottish Common Law 149
II. The Symbolism of the Crown 151
III. Scottish Common Law and English Common Law 153
IV. Scottish Common Law and Celtic Customary Law 156
V. The Influence of Canon Law and Civil Law 157
VI. Sir John Skene’s Views on the Scottish Common Law 159
VII. Thomas Craig and His Views on the Scottish Common Law 160
1. Scottish Common Law and English Common Law 160
2. Feudal Law and Civil Law 161
3. The Hierarchy of Sources 162
Taking Stock: The Significance of the Civilian Tradition in England, Scotland, and Continental Europe 165
Peter B. H. Birks: More Logic and Less Experience: The Difference between Scots Law and English Law 167
I. Instability and Indifference to Classification 167
II. The Scottish Institutional Tradition 171
III. Lists of Actions 175
IV. The Roman Response 179
V. The English Response 180
VI. The English Overview Tradition 181
VII. Seven Foundations 185
VIII. Reviving Knowledge of the Roman Institutional Scheme 188
John W. Cairns: The Civil Law Tradition in Scottish Legal Thought 191
I. Introduction 191
II. The Middle Ages to the 16th Century 196
III. The 17th Century 200
1. Sir Thomas Craig 200
2. Viscount Stair 204
3. Sir George Mackenzie 207
IV. The 18th Century 212
1. John Spotswood 212
2. John Cuninghame 213
3. Alexander Bayne 214
4. William Forbes 217
5. Lord Bankton 217
6. John Erskine 218
V. Conclusion: From Practical to Educational Value 220
Alan Rodger: The Use of the Civil Law in Scottish Courts 225
I. Introduction 225
II. The 19th Century 226
III. Individual Contributions 227
IV. Civilian Aspects of Scots Law 230
V. The South African Way 232
VI. Civilian Texts and the Courts’ Decisions 233
VII. Brocards and Maxims 234
VIII. Classical Roman Law 236
Daniel Visser: Placing the Civilian Influence in Scotland: A Roman-Dutch Perspective 239
I. Through Panes of Slightly Irregular Glass, Or: Can the Civil Law Influence in Scotland and South Africa Be Compared? 239
II. The Structure of Scots and South African Law 241
1. Institutional Writings as a Source of Law 241
2. Content-Based Reasons 244
(a) The Morgan Guaranty Case 245
(b) The Willis Faber Case 247
3. Content-Independent Reasons – South Africa 248
4. Content-Independent Reasons – Scotland 252
5. Summary 252
III. The Effect of the Structure of the Law on its Development 253
1. Mixed Legal Systems 253
2. The Effect of the Complex Component Structure – South Africa 254
3. The Effect of the Complex Component Structure – Scotland 255
IV. And What About the Future? 256
Reinhard Zimmermann: The Civil Law in European Codes 259
I. The European Codes: Background and Significance 259
II. Civil Law and the Civilian Tradition 262
1. The Meaning of Civil Law 262
2. Characteristic Features of the Civil Law 263
3. Civil Law and Civil Code 264
III. Roman Roots I: Common Origins 267
IV. Roman Roots II: Two Sets of Rules 268
1. Duties and Liability of a Seller 268
2. Breach of Contract 269
3. Initial Impossibility of Performance 270
V. Roman Roots III: Interpreting the Sources 271
1. Vicarious Liability 272
2. Transfer of Ownership and Payment of Purchase Price 273
VI. Roman Roots IV: Different Layers of Tradition 274
1. The Abstract and the Causal System 274
2. The Consensual System 275
VII. Roman Roots V: More Ambiguity 276
1. Mora Creditoris 276
2. Set-off 277
VIII. The Process of Generalization 278
1. The Evolution of the Law of Delict 279
2. The Evolution of the Law of Contract 281
3. The Evolution of the Law of Unjustified Enrichment 282
IX. The Ambivalence of Generalization 283
1. Specific Performance 284
2. Contracts in Favour of Third Parties 284
X. Intellectual Unity Beyond Codification 285
1. Roman Law, Natural Law and Pandectist Legal Science 285
2. Factors Counterbalancing the Nationalistic Isolation 287
XI. New Legal Rules 289
XII. Main Features of a European Law of Obligations 290
Jeroen M. J. Chorus: Civilian Elements in European Civil Procedure 295
I. Common Historical Roots 295
II. Recent Steps Towards Harmonization 296
1. Harmonization of Procedural Law within the European Union 296
2. Civilian and Common Law Procedure 297
III. Civilian Stock in European Civil Procedure 300
1. Characteristics of Civilian Procedure 300
2. Draft Rules of the Storme Working Group 303
IV. Conclusion 305
The Future: The Civilian Tradition in European Community Law 307
David A. O. Edward: The Role and Relevance of the Civil Law Tradition in the Work of the European Court of Justice 309
I. Introduction 309
II. Why the Civil Law is Not an Influence 310
III. The Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments 311
IV. The Real Civilian Influence 315
1. System and Coherence 316
2. Obligations, Rights and Remedies 318
V. Conclusion 320
John A. Usher: The Influence of the Civil Law, via Modern Legal Systems, on European Community Law 321
I. Introduction 321
II. A Law for Citizens? 322
III. Style and Nature of E.C. Law 325
IV. Property Rights 327
1. Possession and Ownership 327
2. Extent and Restrictions 328
V. Contract and Delict 332
1. Contractual Liability 332
2. Non-Contractual (Delictual?) Liability 334
3. Fault 336
VI. National Influence on E.C. Legislation 338
1. General 338
2. Companies 339
VII. Judicial Process and Organization 344
1. Court Structures and Remedies 344
2. Precedent 346
3. General Principles – Legal Professional Privilege 347
VIII. Conclusions 350
Lord Mackenzie-Stuart: The Development of Civil Law Principles at the National and Community Level: Achieving a Balance 351
I. Introduction 351
II. Civil Law and Public Law 352
III. The Problems as Seen in 1973 353
1. Civilian and Common Law Systems 353
2. Dissenting Opinions 355
3. The Advocate General 357
4. Rights of Audience 358
5. Precedent 359
6. Judicial Style 360
IV. Administrative Law 360
1. Recent Developments in England 360
2. The European Sources of Administrative Law 361
3. European Principles and the English Courts 362
V. Conclusion 364
Table of Cases 367
Index 371
List of Contributors 393