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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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154 news items

The Guardian

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:38:21 -0700

Here's a fun game: Go search your name in a European version of Google's search engine. Say the UK's or Ireland's or France's or Netherlands' or Italy's. If you scroll down to the bottom of the search results, you're likely to see a message saying that ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Thu, 26 Jun 2014 02:13:57 -0700

The notification—"Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe"—is added algorithmically to searches that appear to be for a name, a person familiar with the matter said. There are early signs that the ruling in Europe is ...

Tech Times

SmartPlanet.com (blog)
Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:59:16 -0700

A notification is now at the bottom of Google's European sites that reads: "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe. Learn more." But there does seem to be a way of checking for missing links if you believe links ...
Tech Insider
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:50:42 -0700

Google Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) steps to comply with a recent law in Europe for data protection was discussed by Danny O'Brien in a recent interview on Bloomberg Television. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has recently started to remove entries in search ...

The Nation

The Nation
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:03:45 -0700

Recent years have seen much talk of the dangers of Islam in the West and its perceived incompatibility with Western societies. According to statistics, estimated on the basis of country of origin and of first- and second-generation migrants, Muslims ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:00:06 -0700

... with and is deleting links purely because people did not want their comments on news stories to be viewed online. Mr Barron said: 'The European Court of Justice ruling was not something that we welcomed or wanted, but it is now the law in Europe ...

Local 10

Top Tech News
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 08:11:15 -0700

After opposing the "right to be forgotten" law in Europe, Google is now getting criticism for how it is implementing the new regulation. A spokesperson for the European Commission (EC) has said that the company's decision to remove a BBC story from ...
Lexology (registration)
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:22:30 -0700

It acknowledged that the judgements of the CJEU are not legally binding on the EPO and its Appeal Boards, but also emphasised the need for harmonisation of patent law in Europe. It concluded that, given that the national courts of EU member states are ...

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