World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Western law

Article Id: WHEBN0005641311
Reproduction Date:

Title: Western law  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chinese law, Non-possession, Comparative law, Axel Hägerström, Western culture
Collection: Comparative Law, Western Culture
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Western law

Western law refers to the legal traditions of Western culture. Western culture has an idea of the importance of law which has its roots in both Roman law and the Bible. As Western culture has a Graeco-Roman Classical and Renaissance cultural influence, so does its legal systems.


  • History 1
  • Western legal culture 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The rediscovery of the Justinian Code in the early 10th century rekindled a passion for the discipline of law, which crossed many of the re-forming boundaries between East and West. Eventually, it was only in the Catholic or Frankish west, that Roman law became the foundation on which all legal concepts and systems were based. Its influence can be traced to this day in all Western legal systems (although in different manners and to different extents in the common (Anglo-American) and the civil (continental European) legal traditions).

The study of canon law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, fused with that of Roman law to form the basis of the refounding of Western legal scholarship. The ideas of civil rights, equality before the law, equality of women, procedural justice, and democracy as the ideal form of society, and were principles which formed the basis of modern Western culture.

Western legal culture

Western legal culture is unified in the systematic reliance on legal constructs. Such constructs include corporations, contracts, estates, rights and powers to name a few. These concepts are not only nonexistent in primitive or traditional legal systems but they can also be predominately incapable of expression in those language systems which form the basis of such legal cultures.[1]

As a general proposition, the concept of legal culture depends on language and symbols and any attempt to analyse non western legal systems in terms of categories of modern western law can result in distortion attributable to differences in language.[1] So while legal constructs are unique to classical Roman, modern civil and common law cultures, legal concepts or primitive and archaic law get their meaning from sensed experience based on facts as opposed to theory or abstract. Legal culture therefore in the former group is influenced by academics, learned members of the profession and historically, philosophers. The latter group's culture is harnessed by beliefs, values and religion at a foundational level.

See also


  1. ^ a b J.C. Smith (1968) ‘The Unique Nature of the Concepts of Western Law' The Canadian Bar Review (46: 2 pp. 191-225) in Csaba Varga (ed) (1992) Comparative Legal Cultures (Dartmouth: England).
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.