Studying Roman Law In The Beginning Of 21st Century


A very topical problem lies in the essence of the article. This is the problem of the Roman law, its modern sounding and its studying in the contemporary juridical education. An ancient manual of Roman law – the Justinian’s Institutions has not lost its great significance as a historical and practical source even nowadays. The connection between the Roman law and the current European legal system is too close. The expansion of the European Union requires reforms in the university legal education too similar to the Justinian’s reforms made in 6th century. It means: rearrangement of the ground of the subject, avoiding repetitions, obviating discrepancies and ambiguities. The other general task is studying the legal matter not only as a collection of legal norms, but also as practice. Knowing the true spirit of the Roman law is very important, the casuistry, the evaluation of the current law and the possibilities for its development. Such tasks we can find in the Justinian’s instructions to the compilers of the Code, Digests and Institutions.

There are many analogies between the Justinian’s reforms and the current need of reforms in the legal education in didactics aspect. Justinian settled a new curriculum, new methodical instructions, balancing and synchronized training for 5 years, recommended literature (basically Institutions and some works of the classical lawyers), detailed description of what the students should study, and required skills, which the students had to acquire after each phase of their training. In such a spirit are the stipulations in the Bologna declaration (1999) concerning the establishment of a Common European area of Higher education, through synchronization of the educational degrees, qualitative training and free interchanging of students and lecturers.

The rest of the article examines the problem of the place of the Roman law in the contemporary legal education. One of the main questions is how to study the Roman law – historically and comparatively or law dogmatically. Following the traditions and the experience of the European countries, the general conclusion is that both approaches are useful. The Roman law is a significant example for the unity of the legal theory and practice – something very necessary for building the current European legal system. In all sources of the Roman law a lasting tendency of fusion of standpoints of jurisprudence with practical decisions becomes apparent. Another significance of the Roman legal tradition is the development of unified legal terminology. Finally, a few examples of studying the Roman public law are presented and also, the need of studying additional subjects, e. g. “juridical rhetoric”, special lecturer courses on the Roman basis of contemporary contractual, commercial and administrative law, etc. Thus the students have to devote themselves to the “Ars boni et aequi”.

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