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Unformatted text preview: U NIT I: T HE C LASSIC R OMAN L AW O RIGINS OF W ESTERN L EGAL T RADITION A friend and long-time colleague, Dr. Boris Kozolchyk of the University of Arizona, poses the question, Why study Roman Law? Since we are beginning our readings in the Law of the Deal with Roman Law, let us see why Dr. Kozolchyk thought it important. COMPARATIVE LAW OF CONTRACTS Boris Kozolchyk (in draft form; not to be cited without the authors permission) pages IV-1 to IV-6 Why Study Roman Law? The reader may well ask himself, why study Roman law in a contemporary course on [contracts]? As it progresses, section by section, this [course] is designed to provide answers to this question. Some of the sections will show the importance of discovering the roots of ones own legal institutions as well as those of the majority of the civilized world. This should improve our understanding of contemporary law. But, as the reader will soon discover, there are many other important lessons to be learned from the manner in which the Roman jurists went about resolving what my mentor, Professor Hessel E. Yntema, used to describe as the practical problems of justice. The Providers of a Legal Alphabet Roman law is often regarded as the provider of the legal alphabet for much of the Furnish Law of the Deal Roman Law Origins of Western Legal Tradition private law of Western civilization. A reader of the juristic opinions . . . issued during the first three centuries A.D. (the so-called classical period of Roman law), will discover that they set forth not only precise synopses of disputes, but also key features of commercial transactions such as sales, loans, and leases, among others. These jurists also supplied the logical-legal means with which to identify those features, including their terminology, the parties rights and duties, and the remedies for the violation of those rights or duties. We are so accustomed to relying on the Roman legal alphabet in our daily business and legal life that we rarely stop to reflect on why so many legal terms coined by the Romans continue to be used almost everywhere. To understand the reasons for this universality, it is important to review, albeit briefly, what the...
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