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ORIGINS OF LAW. Learning Goals:. Understanding how laws were created and how they have evolved over time Needs of society change over time. History of Law. in early societies local customs and beliefs were the law there were no written laws, laws were passed by word of mouth

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learning goals
Learning Goals:
  • Understanding how laws were created and how they have evolved over time
  • Needs of society change over time
history of law
History of Law
  • in early societies local customs and beliefs were the law
  • there were no written laws, laws were passed by word of mouth
  • eventually, society became too complex requiring too many laws for people to remember
  • it became necessary for society to write down their laws
the influence of religion
The Influence of Religion
  • religion was an important factor -- fear of wrongful action, advice, and punishment were often determined by “God”
  • priests were extremely powerful -- they were the link to the supernatural
  • a division of power developed between rulers and priests
  • some societies the leader/ruler was also the religious power -- Pharaoh
code of hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
  • he was the King of Babylon – 1730 BC
  • laws were becoming more complex and numerous
  • realized that justice was impossible unless the citizens understood the law
  • Code of Hammurabi - outlined all the laws and had them carved in columns of stone
  • first written laws organized in categories
  • concept of retribution – the punishment should fit the crime (an eye for an eye)
  • Turning Points in History - Hammurabi's Code of Laws
mosaic law
Mosaic Law
  • Mosaic Law is set out in the first five chapters of the Old Testament and includes the 10 Commandments
  • Moses became the judge of disputes
  • eye for eye a tooth for a tooth philosophy for punishment
  • more humane than Babylonian Law (considered intent)
  • Exodus 23:7 – Do not slay the innocent or the Righteous for I will not acquit the wicked
  • punishment required restitution – the offender repaying the victim for goods
greek law
Greek Law
  • perfect society – all male citizens were free and equal before the law
  • they created a system of trial based upon ‘man’ being judged by his follow citizens
  • male citizens of Athens were the only people able to be jurors – only men could bring a case to court
  • guilt or innocence was determined by solid or holed metal discs
roman law
Roman Law
  • law was so complex – legal scholars were used to interpret the law – first lawyers
  • Justinian – Roman Emperor (approx. 500 AD) – created the Justinian Code which was a publication of a collection of laws to govern the empire
  • these laws form the foundation of Western European law of today (since the Romans conquered most of Europe
the codes are comprised of 901 articles covering the following books topics
The Codes are comprised of 901 articles covering the following “books” (topics):
  • Justice and the law
  • The law of nature
  • Free men and slaves
  • Marriage
  • Adoption, Guardianship and the Emancipation of Minors (free of parents/guardians)
  • Trusts, Wills, Succession (Estates) and Intestacies (no legal will)
  • Property Rights including Servitudes (interest/benefit in ownership), Usufruct (right of enjoyment), Usucapion(take Possession of), Gifts,
  • Obligations (Contracts) and Delicts (Torts)
  • Partnerships and Mandates
  • Over-Eager Litigants (involved with lawsuit)
  • A brief appendix on “Criminal Trials”

The beauty of Justinian’s Institutes lies in its logic and simplicity. Here are some sample articles, taken from the Birks-McLeod 1987 translation and Cumin's translation of 1854:

  • “The commandments of the law are these: live honourably, harm nobody; give everyone his due.
  • "The main classification in the law of persons is this: all men are either free or slaves. Slavery ... makes a man the property of another, contrary to the law of nature.
  • “The offspring of slave women are born slaves. Equally he is born free if his mother is free and his father a slave.... It is enough for the women to be free at the time of birth though a slave at conception.
  • “A Roman law marriage is a marriage between Roman citizens.... Males must have reached puberty. Females must be sexually mature.
  • “The Julian Act on the Suppression of Adultery ... puts to the sword not only those who treat with contempt the marriage of others but also those who dare to indulge their unspeakable lust with males.
review of the history of law
Review of the History of Law
  • Hidden history: Law & Order