Kjell Å Modéer
This chapter is about the relations between the national legal system and the ‘other’—especially from the creation of the modern nation state in the early nineteenth century and up to current times. Comparative law in the twentieth century was dominated by the concept of ‘valid law’, functionalism, legal positivism and legal realism. The parameters of time and space within law were minimalized. The German law emigrés from Nazi Germany to England and the United States played a special role for the relation to comparative law, and several of these scholars played a great role for the post-war development of comparative law. Critical theories and post-colonialism have developed new legal discourses on culture and identity, and have increased interest not only in history but also in differences between legal cultures—and thus an increasing interest in comparative legal history.
Richard P. Boast
This chapter examines the connections between the field of legal history and the various ways in which claims against states by indigenous groups are adjudicated and resolved. It focuses on ‘indigenous’ and ‘settler’ relationships, and on redress mechanisms in Australia and New Zealand. In both cases, the establishment of such mechanisms arose out of political and legal conjunctures within each country, and owed little to developments in international law. The Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand and the Native Title Tribunal in Australia have very different functions, utilize different kinds of expert evidence, and operate in very different political and constitutional settings. While both bodies require expert evidence typically provided by non-indigenous specialist researchers, the required expertise in each case is different: anthropology in the Australian case, and history in New Zealand.
James Thuo Gathii
This chapter traces the two major trends in thinking about Africa’s engagement with international law from a historical perspective: ‘contributionists’ who emphasize Africa’s contributions to international law, on the one hand; and critical theorists who examine Africa’s subordination in its international relations as a legacy that is traceable to international law, on the other. For authors such as Taslim Elias Olawale, ‘inter-civilizational participation in the process of crafting genuinely universal norms’ has historically involved Africa as a central player. This emphasis on Africa’s participation in the formation of international law amounts to contributionism. Critical theorists, such as Makau Wa Mutua, Siba Grovogui, Kamari Clark, Ibironke Odumosu, and Obiora Okafor, among others, by contrast focus on the manner in which modern international law continues the legacy of colonial disempowerment while providing spaces for resistance and reform.
Fatiha Sahli and Abdelmalek El Ouazzani
This chapter argues that the impact of Islam on the contribution of North Africa in the production of the norms of international law has been but relative. It must be associated with another reality, which is that of the relationships between powers and their competition for domination. All through the centuries of coexistence of the Muslim empires and the European nations, their reciprocal relations were guided by war strategies and by the power games that dominated the Mediterranean world. If there is a contribution of the Muslims to international law, it is in the field of the protection of the laws of the persons, particularly in the laws of the Dhimmi, and more precisely in the laws of the religious minorities and the humane treatment of the war prisoners that it could be found.
The word ‘codification’ was invented and promoted by Jeremy Bentham. It is used by legal historians to grasp the movement that leads to the writing down of systematized codes, notably of civil codes, in continental Europe from the end of the eighteenth century to the aftermath of the Second World War. This chapter focuses on the diversity of codes and on the different policies of codification that were implemented in Europe during the period beginning with the Prussian General Code, the Napoleonic Code, or the Austrian Civil Code (1794–1811) and finishing with the German, Swiss, and Greek Civil Codes (1900–46). As political and social programmes, civil codes were the vectors of new conceptions and rules about family, property, and contract. The comparative perspective includes some developments about the so-called modernization of English private law that used other channels than codification.
This article examines the historical development and social and intellectual functioning of Islamic law in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. In particular, it considers the progressive stabilization and institutionalization of the four classical Sunni madhhabs (schools of law) and the corresponding developments in Imami Shi‘ism; developments in legal theory (usul al-fiqh); and the practical administration of the law. It also discusses the various forms of ijtihad and taqlid that could generate new legal rulings, along with the textual forms and real-world interactions within which legal judgments were sought and expressed. Finally, it looks at the fatwa, which consists of a legal opinion issued in response to an inquiry (istifta’).
The paradigmatic public institution associated with the application of Islamic law from the rise of Islam until the end of the nineteenth century has been the qadi. This essay examines the scholarship on this institution, organizing studies into doctrinal works and empirical works. Doctrinal studies of the qadi are based almost entirely on literary sources, most commonly legal texts. Historical sources have also been important, especially for the pre-Ottoman period. Empirical studies of the qadi, by contrast, base themselves almost entirely on surviving court records. Thus, most empirical studies are limited to courts of the Ottoman Empire which kept systematic records of court decisions in contrast to the courts of previous Muslim states, which did not. In the modern period, there has been a distinct rise in an anthropological approach to the qadi, with numerous studies having been published based on direct observation of the behavior of Muslim judges.
This chapter examines Alberico Gentili’s life and teaching; Gentili and the history of international law; and Gentili and the doctrine of war. In Oxford, Alberico Gentili wrote a large number of works, which can be divided in four main groups: treatises on topics of the civil law, law of nations, issues pertaining to political theology, and various questions of legal erudition. His major works include Three Books on the Law of War, Two Books on the Roman Armies, and Two Books of Spanish Attorneyship.
This chapter gives an overview of law in ancient Greece. After discussing the unity of Greek law and scholarship on Greek law, it reviews the evidence for law in Gortyn (in Crete), including the Gortyn Law Code, in Sparta, and at greater length in Athens, which is best documented. Athens had a highly democratic legal system. Legislation was enacted by an Assembly open to all citizens, laws were written and publicly displayed, plaintiffs and defendants pleaded their own cases, and trials were judged by juries of 200 or more. Private disputes first went to arbitration. When no individual victim existed (e.g. public embezzlement), anyone could prosecute. There were no professional judges, prosecutors, or advocates, but the rule of law was largely observed. In Hellenistic Greece, law in cities remained relatively unchanged but in newly settled areas like Egypt, law developed very differently. Greek law had little influence on later law.
Syed Adnan Hussain
This article examines the historical origins, sources, and subject-matter jurisdiction of Anglo–Muhammadan law, along with its influence on the trajectories of Islamic law. After providing a short history of Anglo–Muhammadan law, the article discusses its subject matter. In particular, it considers the contributions of Syed Ameer Ali, especially in the area of trust law, or awqaf. It proceeds by looking at various sources of Anglo–Muhammadan law, which include textbooks and English translations of primary texts, case law, and legislation and custom. To give a sense of how Anglo–Muhammadan law operated in case law, the 1922 case of Narantakh v. Parakkal is analyzed. The article concludes with an overview of changes in Anglo–Muhammadan law in the immediate period after independence and partition of India.