Public University of Navarre

CastellanoEuskara | Academic year: 2024/2025 | Previous academic years:  2023/2024  |  2022/2023  |  2021/2022  |  2020/2021 
Bachelor's degree in Law at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 351103 Subject title: HISTORY OF LAW
Credits: 6 Type of subject: Basic Year: 1 Period: 1º S
Department: Derecho
LIZARRAGA RADA, MIKEL (Resp)   [Mentoring ]

Partes de este texto:


Module/Subject matter




Despite its stable or immutable vocation, Law, as a human cultural creation, is a historical phenomenon that is modified by the evolution of society itself. The History of Law studies the development of legal relationships in time and space; analyzes the Law from its oldest stages, to the contemporary. Law is, therefore, modifiable over time, despite the stability required to maintain its security, hence legal rhythm is slower than social rhythm, although it must evolve if it intends to accommodate political, economic changes, social, cultural or technical. There are legal institutions that are very changing (especially those referring to public law), and others whose modification occurs very slowly, these being, above all, corresponding to private law, as evidenced by the fixity of private institutions of law Roman received through the Ius Commune.

The History of Law has to be shown from a legal sensitivity, with an exact handling of the terminology, institutions and legal dogmatism of each historical moment, hence in the discipline it is frequent to affirm, as Francisco Tomás and Valiente did, that the historian of law must be, in addition to being a historian, a jurist. This condition also contributes to being able to adequately expose the historical foundations of positive law, something that a general historian could hardly do, especially in the case of private law. And that apart from doctrinal discussions on the object and method of research, if we look at the teaching of the discipline, it seems appropriate to opt for a pragmatic and possibilistic position, in which the legal nature of the History of Right then, as Alfonso García-Gallo affirmed, our subject is intended for the training of future jurists. To this we must add that the intellectual and professional horizon of the majority of students is positive law, hence the European study plans for our subject tend, increasingly, to privilege the minimal past, in the words of Pío Caroni, as a base and direct precedent of current Law.

The History of Law allows knowing the historical development of current institutions, helping to better understand their meaning. In short, it serves to select and order the Law and legal institutions of the past in such a way that, in their sequence, in their causes and in their effects or results, they contribute to the configuration of positive Law and, to a certain extent, to its justification, understood this, of course, not as an ethical or political servitude, but as an explanation of the legal, political and social system in which it lives. Therefore, our discipline serves to inform about the present thanks to its contribution of elements of reflection and ius commune historical analysis.


General proficiencies

Not applicable.


Specific proficiencies

Not applicable.


Learning outcomes

LO2. To understand the historical evolution of Law and the subsequent legal and institutional changes, and synthesise historical and legal knowledge.

LO17. To express oneself orally using appropriate terminology and techniques.

RA18. To draft legal documents.

LO19. To search, select and manage the Law sources applicable to a specific situation.

LO23. To read and interpret legal texts.

RA24. To examine and summarise essential issues, mostly within the legal scope.

LO25. To argue and substantiate the application of legal regulations.

LO30. To organise and plan work efficiently, applying the acquired social and organisational skills.



Theoretical and practical classes will be combined, in which theoretical explanations, specific complementary readings and comments on historical texts will be made, as well as an individual guided work that will culminate in a seminar.


Methodology - Activity In-person hours     Non In-person hours
A-1 Theoretical classes 45 -
A-2 Practicas classes 13  
A-6 Carying out work   13
A-6 Individual Study - 75
A-7 Exams, Assessment Tests 2  -
A-4 Individual Tutoring Sessions    2
Total 60 90




Weight (%) It allows
test resit
required grade
R142; R165 Reflective and critical commentary on five ius commune historical texts (10%) 10% No  
R 145; R78 Active attendance at in-person sessions (10%) 10% No  
R142; R143 Guided work through individual tutorials and oral presentation (10%) 10% No  
R 59; R134; R129 Exam (two tests) over 7 points. To be able to add the rest of the marks of the subject, a minimum of 3.25 points must be obtained on the final amount of the two exams. If the mark does not reach 3,25 over 7, the rest of the points could be added, but the final mark will not be more than 4,9 over 10 (Fail). 70% Yes 3,25 over 7








HISTORY AND LAW. I. Sources of law. II.I Main Western legal systems.


THE BACKGROUND. I. Roman Law and the Roman Empire. II. The formation of Europe.


FEUDAL LAW.  I. Definition of feudalism. 1. Feudal law and customary law. II. Liber Iudiciorum (Lex Visigothorum).


IUS COMMUNE (I). I. Definition. II. The revival of Justinian´s law. III. Main schools in Roman Law.


IUS COMMUNE (II). I. Canon Law. II. Reception in the Iberian peninsula.


HUMANISM AND REFORMATION. I. An outline of the sixteen century. II. The French Renaissance. III. Conquest of the Kingdom of Navarre.


THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE LAW. 1. Montesquieu. 2. The Encyclopaedists and Rousseau. 3. Voltaire. 4. Authors of French Enlightenment. 5. Beccaria, Verri and Il Caffè. 6. The Neapolitan Enlightenment and Filanieri. 7. Bentham. 8. Kant.


LIBERALISM AND REVOLUTION. I. American Independence. II. The French Revolution and the law.


THE NAPOLEONIC ERA. I. The directory and Jacobin Italy. II. The Napoleonic regime. III. Italy under Napoleon. IV. Prussian reforms. V. The Spanish Constitution.


CODIFICATIONS. I. The French Civil Code: Projects (1793-1799). II. The Napoleonic Code Civil. III. Other French codes. IV. The Austrian Codes: The Criminal Code. V. The Austrian Civil Code (ABGB). VI. The Spanish Civil Code.


NEW TRENDS IN LAW, 1815-1914. I. Public law and liberal democracy. II. The organisation of business. III. The regulation of employment. IV. Trade Unions. V. Harmonization of laws.


LAW AND LEGISLATION BETWEEN THE TWO WORLD WARS. I. The Constitutions of Weimar and Vienna. II. Fascist Laws and the New Codes. III. The Italian Private Law Code of 1942. IV.The Nazi Regime and the Law. V. Law in the Soviet Union. VII. Peace Treates and Winds of war.


LAW IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. I. From the legislative State to the Constitutional State. II. The New Constitutions: Italy, Germany, France, Spain. III. Franco´s dictatorship.


EUROPEAN UNION LAW. I. Genesis. II. European Community, 1957-1975. III. The Institutional Development of the European Union, 1976-2000. IV. From the European Convention to the Treaty of Lisbon and Beyond, 2001-2015.


HEADING TOWARDS GLOBAL LAW? I. Origin and Structure of the United Nations. II. Economic Law and Globalisation. III. International Protection of Human Rights.



Access the bibliography that your professor has requested from the Library.

PADOA-SCHIOPPA, ANTONIO (2017) A history of Law in Europe. From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press.

STEIN, PETER (2003) Roman Law in European History. Cambridge University Press.

ROBINSON, O.F., FERGUS, T.D., GORDON, W. M. (1994) European Legal History. Second edition. London, Dublin, Edinburgh: Butterworths. 



Language in which the subject is taught: English.



- See assigned classroom.

- Some hands on training sessions will take place in the UPNA Library, the General Archive of Navarra and the Archive of the Court House in Pamplona.