The emergence of a social private law in Europe: a trialogue

Volume 327-1 der Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte now published

August 03, 2022

The end of the First World War also meant the end of the era of liberal civil law codification framed by the French Code civil (1804) and the German BGB (1900). The BGB was criticised right from the start as »lacking a drop of socialist oil«, and the need for reforms was even more present in France and in Italy (Codice civile, 1865). Although Germany, France and Italy played major roles in the genesis of a continental European social private law, the discourse between legal scholars from these three countries has only now been submitted to an in-depth analysis as part of trilateral conferences at the Villa Vigoni.

The first of the three resulting volumes offers a look at the 1927 draft of a French-Italian law of contracts and obligations (Progetto di Codice delle obbligazioni e dei contratti – Projet de Code des obligations et des con­trats) and its significance in this context. In 1916, a working group of French and Italian civil law scholars assembled to elaborate a draft for a new law on contracts and obligations, which was eventually presented in 1927. This indicates that their shared legal tradition was stronger than their political differences. In the years after the First World War, this draft prompted a lively debate in Germany, where a reform debate was gathering pace. In the end, the French-Italian draft failed, but this impressive multilingual volume is proof of its lingering appeal.

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