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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: codes, contracts, family, judicial legislation, modernization of law, property

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