Comparative Legal History
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Comparative Legal History

Edited by Olivier Moréteau, Aniceto Masferrer and Kjell A. Modéer

The specially commissioned papers in this book lay a solid theoretical foundation for comparative legal history as a distinct academic discipline. While facilitating a much needed dialogue between comparatists and legal historians, this research handbook examines methodologies in this emerging field and reconsiders legal concepts and institutions like custom, civil procedure, and codification from a comparative legal history perspective.
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Chapter 18: Why was private law not codified in Sweden and Finland?

Heikki Pihlajamäki


Although codification is important, it may not be essential for the modernization of European private law. The Nordic experience proves that private law can also be modernized by way of ordinary legislation. Unlike legal scholars in most Western countries, 19th-century Nordic reformers did not feel that their private law had turned into a chaotic maze in need of systematic organization. Most of the Nordic scholars saw no need for a comprehensive reform. From the Middle Ages on, Nordic legal orders had been largely based on written law. Much of this law was already enshrined in national codes drafted in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Those codes were still in force in the 19th century. Although those codes were, as far as content was concerned, largely antiquated in the 19th century, they still provided a working structure for many of the modern reforms.

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