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Custom, Law, and Monarchy: A Legal History of Early Modern France

ISBN13: 9780192845498
Published: October 2021
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £75.00

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Ancien regime France did not have a unified law. Legal relations of the people were governed by a disorganized amalgam of norms, including provincial and local customs (coutumes), elements of Roman law and canon law that together formed jus commune, royal edicts and ordinances, and judicial decisions, all coexisting with little apparent internal coherence. The multiplicity of laws and the fragmentation of jurisdiction were the defining features of the monarchical era. A key subject in European legal history is the metamorphosis of popular customs into customary law, which covered a broad spectrum of what we call today private law. This study sets forth the evolution of law in late medieval and early modern France, from the thirteenth to the end of the eighteenth century, with emphasis on the royal campaigns to record and reform customs in the sixteenth century. The codification of customs in the name of the king solidified the legislative authority of the crown, the essential element of the absolute monarchy. Brilliant achievements of French legal humanism brought French custom and Roman law together to lay the foundation for the French law. The Civil Code of 1804 was the culmination of these centuries of work. Juristic, political, and constitutional approaches to the early modern state allow an understanding of French history in a continuum.

Legal History, European Jurisdictions, France
2:Custom, Theories, and Debates
3:The Redaction of Customs
4:La Coutume and la Législation
5:La Coutume and la Législation
6:The Idea of "Our French Law"
7:The Constitution and the Crown
8:De la coutume au Code civil