Public University of Navarre

Academic year: 2023/2024 | Previous academic years:  2022/2023  |  2021/2022  |  2020/2021 
Double Bachelor's degree in Management, Business Administration and Law (international program) at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 177103 Subject title: HISTORY OF LAW
Credits: 6 Type of subject: Basic Year: 1 Period: 1º S
Department: Derecho

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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

  • That students have developed those learning skills necessary to undertake further studies with a high degree of autonomy (C.B.5) Ability for analysis and synthesis (C.G.1)
  • Ability to reason and reflect (C.G.22)
  • Organizational and planning ability (C.G.2)
  • Oral and written communication in native language (C.G.3)
  • Ability to identify problems (C.G.23)
  • Problem Solving (C.G.7)
  • Information management ability (C.G.6)
  • Autonomous learning (C.G.16)


Specific proficiencies

  • Ability to write basic legal briefs of a short length (C.E.a.3)
  • Ability to examine and summarize essential legal issues in a basic way. (C.E.a.5)
  • Ability to manage legal sources (C.E.a.2)
  • Use of computer tools to search for sources of law and jurisprudence. (C.E.a.6)
  • Relationship ability and basic legal argumentation (C.E.a.8)
  • Ability to find legal relevance in the facts and social problems. (C.E.a.10)
  • Ability to read and interpret basic legal texts (C.E.a.1)


Learning outcomes

Learning Outcome   · Development of the capacity for analysis and synthesis and conceptual relationship (R142) · Development of logical and coherent reasoning (R145) · Facilitate the exercise of critical sense · Develop skills and abilities to search for legal information · Facilitate the search for criteria and Knowledge selection guidelines · Ability to compare, contrast arguments and draw synthetic conclusions · Learning to transmit ideas, analyze problems and propose solutions · Knowledge about the evolution of law and the consequent political-institutional changes · Development of the reflective, analytical and critical capacities of the students (R143) · Boost of the critical and reflective sense around the universal and Spanish historical legal diversity (R165) · Ability to analyze and synthesize historical-legal knowledge (R59) · Ability to relate the main historical legal institutions with the current ones (R7 8) · Knowledge of the weight of history in the current legal organization (R129)



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 40 -
A-2 Hands on training 10 20
A-3 Discussions, group discussions, group tutoring 10 -
A-4 Carrying out work - 10
A-5 Reading of materials - 10
A-6 Individual Study - 47
A-7 Exams, Assessment Tests 2  -
A-8 Individual Tutoring Sessions 1  -
Total 63 87




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.



-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.