Website corresponding to the book:

Legal Research Methods in a Modern World: A Coursebook

Legal Families

Chapter 2

Section 2.2.

Section 2.3.


Section 2.2.

Nordic Legal Family - Update:

Extract from “The History of Danish Law” by Professor Ditlev Tamm (DJOEF Publishing, 2011 – ISBN 978-87-574-1679-4) pages 9-23 [Note: Remember for centuries Denmark, Norway and part of Sweden was under the rule of the Danish king; while (Northern) Sweden and Finland was under the rule of the Swedish king ]:

“Around 1200 the laws were committed to paper at a time when King and church worked closely together with the shared aim of building a peaceful society based on the rule of law…In 1234 the Pope issued Liber Extra. Jyske Lov [Law of Jutland] was issued by the Danish King Valdemar Sejr in 1241. Danish law is ius proprium to a great extent but Danish law also in the Middle Ages belongs to the ius commune

Danske Lov, the first Danish code valid for the whole Kingdom of Denmark, [was] given 1683 by king Christian V……[which] was available to the rest of Europe in German, Latin and English translations.

[In the European Perspective] the river Eider, which used to separate the Germans and the Danes, was the Northern frontier of the Holy Roman Empire but in many ways it also illustrates the separate position of Nordic law, both today and in the past…Since the end of the 19th century there has been close cooperation among the Nordic countries within the field of law…Denmark was the first Nordic country that from 1973 became a member of the European Community…

[As for the so-called legal families, in] Traite de droit compare from 1950, Arminjon, Nolde and Wolff thend to consider the law of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as one of the seven legal familes…However, …Zweigert and Kötz considers the Nordic legal system as a separate group within the Civil Law system…Rene David…counts Nordic law among Civil Law systems without the separate position admitted by Zweigert and Kötz. The most common legal opinion today, also shared by Nordic lawyers, however, seems to be that the Nordic legal systems are a separate legal family distinct from both civil law and common law…

The general part known in the civil law codes…is unknown in Nordic law, a is generally any sharp distinction between civil law and commercial law…

Roman law was never considere ius commune north of the geographic frontier mentioned before...The Lutheran Reformation in 1536…had great impact on Danish society including important reforms in various areas of Danish law…Local law in the 16th and 17th centuries still consisted of medieval provincial laws and later legislation on specific subjects. Legislation however only played a minor role in the development of law…

[Looking] at the highest courts’ role in law-making, especially in the 17th century, we notice a difference between Denmark and Sweden in regards to influence by Roman law… In Denmark supreme justice law in the hands of the King in his council…[and the judges] generally opposed to the introduction of foreign legal concepts…

Absolutism was introduced in Denmark 1660 and the absolute rule was confirmed in a specific and, from a European perspective, unique constitutional law, the Lex Regia from 1665…[which] remained in force… until the country go a new constitution in 1848”


Section 2.3.



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