Roman law, the legal system that was developed during the Roman Empire and continued to influence subsequent European legislation, is considered one of the most important and influential contributions of Ancient Rome to the development of future modern legal systems. This is a valuable source of knowledge and understanding for a future lawyer, giving him a broader perspective of legal thinking on current issues in the legal world.

In this article we will explore 5 reasons why Romanian law is important for a future lawyer.

Basis of the current legal system

Roman law served as the basis for many contemporary legal systems. It was created during the Roman Empire and codified in the Corpus Juris Civilis, a compilation of legal texts made by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Through the Codex, Institutions, Digests and Novels, its fundamental elements emerge, such as the principles of law, legal concepts and ways of interpretation, which have been taken over and introduced into modern legal systems.

The concepts and principles of this code, such as the natural and legal person, the contract, the foundation of private law, the principles of legality and equality, can be found in the current legislation of European countries, with minor subsequent changes. For example, in Romanian law, people acquired full legal capacity at the age of 25, and women under tutelage were deprived of legal capacity. But one of the aspects that has been maintained over time is the existence of the essential elements of the contract to be validly concluded (capacity, consent, object and cause). The result of this code was a revolutionary one, as it succeeded in clarifying the law for all citizens. .

Enduring legal principles

As I mentioned before, Romanian law established lasting legal principles that are applicable and relevant even today, such as: the principle of judicial impartiality, which emphasized equality and legality, with the aim of eliminating discrimination in justice. Its basis was the development of judicial procedures and procedural guarantees (the right to a fair trial). Also, the principle of legal stability highlighted the need for a clear and established legal framework, which would provide more security and predictability, through written and codified laws.

Foundation of private law

The Romanians created the foundations of legal thinking, being considered the “father of law”. Romanian law played a significant role in the development of private law in Europe. In Ancient Rome, law was divided into two main branches: private law and public law.

Public law referred to the rules and laws that governed the relationship between citizens and the state, while private law focused on regulating relationships between individuals, including property, contract, civil liability. Romanian law established some fundamental principles that had a significant impact on private law. A concrete example is the principle “pacta sunt servanda”, that is, all contracts must be respected between the parties like a law. Another principle taken from Roman law and maintained to this day is: “nemo dat quod non habet” : “no one can transfer a property right that he does not have”.

At the same time, many legal institutions such as contracts, successions, obligations and civil liability have been taken over and adapted to modern legal systems, such as: the concept of “ius in rem” (right to an asset), “ius in personam” ( rights against a person), remained foundations in contemporary private law.

The development of legal thinking

Knowledge of Roman law allows the future jurist to understand how legal thinking has evolved over time. The principles and concepts developed in Roman Law laid the foundations of legal reasoning and contributed to the creation of a diverse area of thinking on law, especially for the current one.

Study of legal history and culture

Roman law provides a window into the cultural and historical past of ancient society. Studying Roman law allows the jurist to understand the social context in which Roman legal principles and institutions developed and how they evolved. It researches and analyzes primary sources such as legal texts and documents that have survived through time, providing a deep insight into the development of law and helping to form a solid foundation for approaching contemporary law. Current legal systems are a combination of history and culture in the legal world.

Knowledge of Roman law remains essential today, as this legal system has significantly shaped and continues to influence contemporary legal systems. The concepts and principles of Roman law are essential for understanding and interpreting current laws. Therefore, the study of Romanian law is important for legal professionals for a deeper understanding of the evolution of law in general, acquiring substantial competences and skills for this field.

Ioniță Elena-Ioana

Legal Intern R&R Partners Bucharest

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