Comparative Foundations of Modern Law:

Mid-Term Essay

Due: Week of March 16, 2015

Please label your file with your name, last first, first last, e.g. PenningtonKen.doc I will make my comments in the electronic document. 

1. How do our definitions of law affect our understanding of law?  Describe briefly the development of the jurisprudence of  natural law and its cousin, the Ius gentium.  How did John Austin's conception of law deal with natural law, Ius gentium, custom, and national legal systems.  What was Austin's influence on the shape modern legal systems?  

2. Jurists take the stage for the first time in ancient Rome.  What was their role?  How did they influence the development of Roman law?   Describe the features of Roman law that are found in Gaius' Institutes written in the second century A.D.  Discuss the ways in which the jurists brought about change using the development of  tort (delicts) law in the Justinian's Corpus iuris civilis. Illustrate your points with specific examples. How successful was Justinian's attempt to establish certainty in Roman law?

3.  What were the main characteristics of Germanic customary law?   How did Roman law influence the development of Germanic law?


Please remember that I expect that you will have read the assigned readings.  Write an essay covering each of these points. It should be typed, double-spaced, and proofread. The font should be 12 point, the margins 1" left and right, top and bottom. Please number pages (in case of an accident!).  Insert the number of each question in your essay when you being to discuss that part (so I am clear where you are).

I will evaluate your essay on how well you integrate the material on the web and the class lectures with the readings (for this essay Bellomo chapters 2,  Stein Introduction, chapters 1 and 2, Van Caenegem, p. 1-109 (optional), and Justinian's Digest, Introduction and texts on the class web page).  The main point to remember when writing this essay is that none of the questions has any "hidden" or "trick" elements to them.  I want you to write an analytic, thoughtful essay on the material presented in the course.  For that reason, if you have any questions about exactly what I want you to write about in the essay, please ask.  I'll tell you!

You can submit your paper by email (I would prefer that you do).  It should be a DOS document in Word or WordPerfect.  If you are a Mac person and if you know that I cannot read your files, please submit a paper copy of your essay to me.  

Please label your file with your name, last first, first last, e.g. PenningtonKen.doc I will make my comments in the electronic document.