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The law of Europe is diverse and changing fast today. Europe saw the birth of both the Roman Empire and the British Empire, which form the basis of the two dominant forms of legal system of private law, civil and common law.


First page of the 1804 edition of the Napoleonic Code

The law of Europe has a diverse history. Roman law underwent major codification in the Corpus Juris Civilis of Emperor Justinian, as later developed through the Middle Ages by medieval legal scholars. In Medieval England, judges retained greater power than their continental counterparts and began to develop a body of precedent. Originally civil law was one common legal system in much of Europe, but with the rise of nationalism in the 17th century Nordic countries and around the time of the French Revolution, it became fractured into separate national systems. This change was brought about by the development of separate national codes, of which the French Napoleonic Code and the German and Swiss codes were the most influential. Around this time civil law incorporated many ideas associated with the Enlightenment. The European Union's Law is based on a codified set of laws, laid down in the Treaties. Law in the EU is however mixed with precedent in case law of the European Court of Justice. In accordance with its history, the interpretation of European law relies less on policy considerations than U.S. law.[1]

Supranational law[edit]

Law by countries[edit]

Dependencies, autonomies and territories[edit]


  1. ^ Kristoffel Grechenig & Martin Gelter, The Transatlantic Divergence in Legal Thought: American Law and Economics vs. German Doctrinalism, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review 2008, vol. 31, p. 295-360; Martin Gelter & Kristoffel Grechenig, History of Law and Economics, forthcoming in Encyclopedia on Law & Economics.

See also[edit]

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114 news items

Herald Scotland

Herald Scotland
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 19:09:03 -0700

Google's notice of removal states: "Due to a request under data protection law in Europe, we are no longer able to show one or more pages from your site in our search results in response to some search queries for names or other personal identifiers ...

The Legal Intelligencer

The Legal Intelligencer
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:22:30 -0700

When a link has been removed, Google algorithmically adds a blanket notification stating that "some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe." But even with the removals, links that are inevitably lost to Europeans will still ...
The Daily Star
Sun, 03 Aug 2014 14:36:10 -0700

Even rationalism, which underpinned the emergence of rule of law in Europe, may have some origins in Islamic legal institutions, with transmission as of the 12th century. This implies that the emergence of a rational, impersonal state may not have its ...
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 05:12:57 -0700

In a letter to Europe's committee of data protection authorities the search giant revealed that any search query involving a name will trigger the “some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe” notification - whether requests ...

Crawley News

Crawley News
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:30:00 -0700

He said: "Ideally with any vehicle you want to have a fire extinguisher in the vehicle at all times. "That is actually the law in Europe; for instance if you go to France. And ideally you want to have a high-vis jacket in case you do need to get out of ...
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Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:52:30 -0700

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Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:03:05 -0700

It actively stonewalled MEPs by shutting them out of discussions and not answering key questions posed in relation to the scope of US law in Europe. For months and years, the European Commission was, however, working the back channels to prevent the ...

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