Roman Dutch law

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Roman Dutch law is a legal system based on Roman law as applied in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. As such, it is a variety of the European continental civil law or ius commune. While Roman Dutch law ceased to be applied in the Netherlands proper as early as the beginning of the 19th century, Roman Dutch law is still applied by the courts of South Africa (and neighbours like Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia), Zimbabwe, Guyana, Indonesia, East Timor, and Sri Lanka. It also had an impact on New Netherlands.


Roman Law was never forgotten during the early middle ages. Codified versions of Roman vulgar law and excerpts of the late antique promulgations were well known in the barbarian kingdoms and vital to maintaining the personality of law principle which was common place in these kingdoms. The breviary of Alaric and the Lex Gundobada Romana are some of these comprehensive accounts of vulgar Roman Law. Interest in the doctrines of sixth century Roman jurists came when —around the year 1070— a copy of the digest of Emperor Justinian I found its way into northern Italy. Scholars in the emerging University of Bologna, who had previously had access to only a limited portion of Justinian's legal code, began a revival of interest in Roman law and began to teach law based on these texts. Courts gradually started to apply Roman law —as taught in the university of Bologna (and soon elsewhere) because the judges...
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