Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 65: Spain

Antoni Vaquer


The Kingdom of Spain (Reino de Espana) is a plurilegislative state. Several Spanish regions have their own, different systems of private law. From east to west, there are private laws in force in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre, the Basque Country and Galicia. An autonomous private law is also claimed to exist in Valencia. The extent of regional private laws is pretty different; for example, Catalonia has passed a Civil Code, although still incomplete (Book VI on contract law is under preparation), whilst the Balearic Islands has kept a Compilation that presupposes the subsidiary application of Spanish private law. The main legal systems in force can be qualified as civil law systems since the major parts of private law and criminal law are codified (Código civil, Código Penal) and all other requirements usually attributed to civil law systems are met. Spanish law is characterized as belonging to the French legal family, although from an academic point of view the German and the Italian influences are remarkable. On the one hand, the French influence cannot be exaggerated. For instance, the Spanish Civil Code rejects the consensual transfer of property and requires delivery, whilst succession law and the law of marital property are rooted in the Castilian tradition, to highlight just a few examples. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that Spain has traditionally considered German doctrine very highly. One of the main features of this German influence is to be found in legal doctrine, since the curriculum and consequently handbooks follow, not the system of the Civil Code (based mainly on that of the French Code civil), but the pandectist approach.

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