As Europe moves towards economic and political unification, many wonder why legal unification makes so little headway. In this concise but wide-ranging book, R. C. van Caenegem considers the historical reasons behind this legal diversity. He stresses the importance of the adoption on the Continent - but not in England - of the classical law of the Romans, and shows how the rise of the nation states led to a multitude of national codes of law. The impact of politics on legal development is another key factor, and as a graphic example van Caenegem provides a detailed account of how the German past was extolled in Nazi Germany. The book concludes with a consideration of the ongoing debate on the desirability - indeed, on the possibility - of European legal unification and of a federal constitution for a united Europe.

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