Teaching Roman law in the 21st century: A note on legal-historical education in the Netherlands

Jan Hallebeek*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Can Roman law still be a useful part of the compulsory curricular programme for legal education in the Netherlands At the beginning of the nineteenth century Roman law taught the student a further systematization of private law. Later it was seen as an introduction to present-day private law, irrespective of whether it was taught in a pandectistic or a more historical way. For the second half of the twentieth century three divergent approaches could be discerned i.e. a 'pandectistic', a 'neo-humanistic' and a 'legal historical' one. Given this until recently existing state of legal education, various premises can be formulated, which preferably should underlie the teaching of Roman law in the near future, viz. an applicative approach, a connection with legal historical research, the awareness that the civilian tradition is not the only one and that it only started with the glossators, and avoiding anachronisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)194-227
Number of pages34
JournalZeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Romanistische Abteilung
Issue number1
Early online date21 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • History of Legal Scholarship
  • Legal education
  • Legal History
  • Roman law
  • the Netherlands


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