The Federation Press

Fundamentals of European Civil Law


This book outlines the fundamentals of European civil law for readers more familiar with common law jurisdictions such as Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

This fully revised and updated second edition retains the successful structure of the first. The four chapters in Part A provide the general framework, covering the concept and method of comparative law, historical foundations, the concept of a civil code and codification, and the role of legislature and the judiciary. More specific and practical material is provided in Part B, with chapters on the law of contract, the law of tort, labour law, commercial law and court procedure. Part C looks to the future, examining differences between civil law and common law and the impact of the European Union.

The focus throughout is on private law, particularly the civil laws of France and Germany, except where European Community law has made inroads into the (private) civil law. Each chapter thus incorporates the relevant materials on European Community law.


Reviews of previous edition:
The author has written from the perspective of a common lawyer trying to understand Europe and its civil law. He has training, academic and teaching experience in both systems. The chapters summarising substantive civil law are set out under their familiar common law classifications...
...there is enough [exposition of each major area of civil law] to enable you to see how the area works, what the major principles do, and how they apply in practice. ... [Buy] this book if you are a law student studying a comparative law course, a practitioner dealing with a European country, or just a lawyer trying to get a handle on the other major western legal system. - Law Institute Journal (Vic), November 1997

“This is a compendious and easily read book. Its size is deceptive relative to its content. It is very tightly presented and provides a good introductory text for a number of purposes. It discusses the central topics of comparative law and provides a basic introduction to the courts, profession, the codes and the methods of interpretation of the main systems of continental Europe. In addition, it provides a basic introduction to the law of contract, the law of tort, labour law, and commercial and company law in the French and German legal systems, as well as within the context of the European Union. - Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, July 1997

[T]he book is valuable for more than one reason. Firstly, it deals with a subject which is unfamiliar to lawyers trained in the common law and it is instructive to see how the civil law and the common law find different answers to the same problems. Secondly, the book provides guidance for practitioners who have clients who are entering into dealings with parties domiciled in the areas governed by the civil law and European Community Law. - Law Letter (Law Society of Tasmania), December 1997

Table of Contents

Part A: Historical Overview and Conceptual Framework

Codes and Codification
Life Beyond the Code

Part B: Substantive Law

The Law of Contract
The Law of Tort
Labour Law
Commercial Law
Court Procedure

Part C: Perspectives on the Future

Theories of Convergence and Divergence
Documentation Index

Of interest...