Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights panel discussion

FoundLaw’s post-doctoral researcher Jacob Giltaij will take part in a panel debate at the book launch of Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights (Cambridge University Press 2015) at Tiedekulma/Think Corner Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3) on November 19th at 3 pm. The event will be livestreamed.

Jacob Giltaij and Miia Halme-Tuomisaari at the book launch.

Jacob Giltaij and Miia Halme-Tuomisaari at the book launch.

FoundLaw researchers at SIHDA 2015

Four of the project’s researchers gave presentations at the SIHDA 2015 (Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité). Jacob Giltaij gave a paper on “The origins of the Principles of Roman law”, Ville Erkkilä on “Teaching radically conservative legal history”, while Kaius Tuori talked about “The Emperor as Legal Educator: Aelius Aristides and Imperial Rescripts” and Tommaso Beggio presented his paper “Alcune considerazioni su uno scritto inedito di Paul Koschaker”.

FoundLaw welcomes Magdalena Kmak as our new post-doctoral researcher

The project is joined by a new post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Magdalena Kmak. Dr. Kmak received her PhD from the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, in 2009. Previously she has worked as a university lecturer in international law at the faculty of law, University of Helsinki and as a researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. Her current research focuses on the influence of exile on the development of law. Her research interests encompass exile studies and history of migration, public international law, human rights and international and European refugee and migration law.

Lecture: Pierangelo Buongiorno

Professor Pierangelo Buongiorno (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) will give a lecture titled “”The ethics of a jurist”. Edoardo Volterra between the Palingenesia Codicis, the edition of the Senatus consulta and the Italian Fascism (1930-1945)”. The lecture will be held at the faculty room of Social Sciences (Unioninkatu 37, 1st floor) on Monday, May 25th, 2015, at 10.15 am.

Call for Papers: Using the past: Romanists, totalitarianism and its legacy

Call for Papers: Using the past: Romanists, totalitarianism and its legacy
Rome, 22-23 October, 2015.
Villa Lante al Gianicolo, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae

Deadline: May 2, 2015.

The purpose of the project “Reinventing the foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964” ( is to trace the genealogy of the idea of a common European legal past, its creation, influence and implications of the theory as an ideological project.

After the two previous events, the first one in Helsinki, in May 2014, and the second one in Frankfurt am Main, in June 2015, the research group is organizing a workshop in Rome on the problematic relationship between history of law and, in particular, Roman law scholars, and the dictatorial or totalitarian regimes, especially with regard to the Italian and German ones. We therefore invite papers that explore the approach of Romanists towards the regime and the influence it had on their studies. If and to what extent the works of scholars may be considered as a reaction against the dictatorial power, or means to support it. The papers may analyze the repercussions that the study of Roman Law under the regimes had on the Law in force at the time and the influence it exercised on the later scholars, also with regard to the foundation of a new idea of European common legal culture.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Lorena Atzeri (Università Statale, Milano) and Cosimo Cascione (Università Federico II, Napoli).

Potential themes include, but are not limited to:
– idealization of Rome and its history and its implications;
– the influence of political circumstances and the experiences in Roman law scholarship;
– the different narratives of ancient Roman law proposed by the Italian Romanists, in order either to support, or to criticize Fascism;
– Roman Law in Italy between the regime and the new “Codice civile” of 1942;
– the roots of the new European legal history as a reaction to the totalitarian past;
– differences between German and Italian Roman law doctrine in perceiving the role of Roman law and their approach towards the regimes;
– different interpretations of Roman law as a foundation of a new idea of Europe.

The conference is organized by the FoundLaw project, funded by the European Research Council.

Please submit your abstract (300 words), in English, as a (word/pdf) file to Heta Björklund at foundlaw(a) Please include your name, academic affiliation and address in your email. The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 2, 2015. We will inform of the selections by the end of May.

The language of the meeting is English. There is no registration fee. The organizers are unfortunately unable to aid in the travel arrangements or accommodation of participants.

Workshop in Helsinki: The cultural breach of 2nd World War and ‘Europe’ in historiography and legal thought

The “Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964” project is organizing a workshop in Helsinki on the 27th of January, 2015. The theme of the workshop is “The cultural breach of 2nd World War and ‘Europe’ in historiography and legal thought”. All sessions will take place at the social sciences faculty room (Unioninkatu 37, 00170 Helsinki). Please find the programme below.

9.15-10.45 Session 1
Chair: Kaius Tuori
Emanuele Conte: The Medieval “Order” as an Alternative to Individualist Rule of Law. The Enduring Fascination of the German Constitutional History.
Pia Letto-Vanamo: From Bologna to Brussels – Legal Historians and European Integration.

11.15-12.45 Session 2
Chair: Jacob Giltaij
Timo Miettinen: How to do philosophy with the past? Phenomenology and the origins of European universalism.
Kaius Tuori: The narrative of ‘European’ in legal history.

15.15-16.00 Session 3
Chair: Ville Erkkilä
Timo Pankakoski: European Legacies: The Perspective of Carl Schmitt Scholarship.

Lecture: Janne Pölönen on the ranking of scientific journals

Mr. Janne Pölönen from the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies will speak about the much-discussed process of ranking scientific journals and what that will mean for the humanities and social sciences, using legal history, classics and European studies as examples. The location is the faculty room of Social Sciences (Unioninkatu 37, 1st floor) on Monday November 24th, 2014, at 16.15 pm.

FoundLaw researchers at SIHDA 2014

Three of the project’s researchers gave presentations at the SIHDA 2014 (Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité). Jacob Giltaij spoke of “Legal method and legal ethics in Schulz, Principles of Roman Law“, while Tommaso Beggio gave a paper on “Il Diritto romano quale ‘Juristenrecht’ nel pensiero di Paul Koschaker”, and Kaius Tuori on “Judge Julia Domna? The Rule and the Exception on Imperial Adjudication”.


Jacob Giltaij: Legal method and legal ethics in Schulz, Principles of Roman Law
In this presentation, I shall focus on the works of Fritz Schulz (1879-1957), a professor of Roman law who was ousted from office at the advent of the Nazi regime. After his forced retirement in 1934, Schulz was to publish the work he is more generally known for, Principles of Roman law. Principles of Roman law actually is a series of lectures held by Schulz in 1933 at the University of Berlin, effectively losing him the office there. Several of the principles as formulated by Schulz regard the method of Roman legal science. For example, the principle of ‘abstraction’ (Abstraktion) entails the Roman disinclination for the abstract formulation of legal rules, rather favouring a casuistic method, particularly during its classical period. Concerning the methods of the Roman jurists, in this he has been followed by many scholars, such as Kaser (1962), Carcaterra (1966), Stein (1966) and Schmidlin (1970), all quoting Schulz explicitly. However, according to Ernst (2004) and Schermaier (2010), Principles is also an overtly political work, presenting the Roman lawyers during the classical period working independently from the Roman ‘state’ as an ideal, evidenced for instance by the minimal role they may have accorded to general leges as a mode of law-making. In this, arguably there seems to be an echo of Schulz’s own times, and the way he would have viewed the role of jurists as a professional class vis-à-vis the Nazi-regime. Therefore, the questions I shall pose in this presentation are: in what measure are legal ethics and legal method in Schulz’s Principles of Roman law related? Does Schulz accord a political role to the method of the Roman jurists during the classical period, relevant for his own times and circumstances? And what have been the consequences of this in works of later authors following Schulz’s conclusions?

Tommaso Beggio: Il Diritto romano quale ‘Juristenrecht’ nel pensiero di Paul Koschaker
Nel 1947 Paul Koschaker diede alle stampe Europa und das Römische Recht, contribuendo così a ravvivare il dibattito relativo allo stato del Diritto romano e del suo insegnamento, nonché a difendere la dignità ed il ruolo fondamentale da quest’ultimo rivestito nel corso della storia e del processo di formazione di una cultura giuridica europea comune. L’opera di Koschaker rappresentava lo sviluppo compiuto di quanto già esposto dallo stesso durante la sua nota conferenza sulla crisi del Diritto romano tenutasi nel 1937, a Berlino, a seguito della quale venne poi pubblicato, l’anno successivo, Die Krise des Römischen Rechts und die romanistische Rechtswissenschaft. Tale scritto si distinse per la strenua difesa del Diritto romano e del suo insegnamento, a fronte della condizione di grave crisi in cui esso versava, all’epoca, in Germania. In entrambi i lavori, il Koschaker sottolineava quella che, a suo avviso, fu la caratteristica fondamentale di tale diritto, l’essere, cioè, un Juristenrecht, che si fondava sul lavorio della giurisprudenza e sulla peculiare metodologia da quest’ultima adottata nell’elaborare le regulae iuris. In questo consistette il tratto saliente del Diritto romano, a tal punto da renderlo assolutamente autonomo dal potere politico, agli occhi dello studioso, e da permettere che esso giocasse un ruolo determinante in Europa, sino agli inizi del XX secolo. Sebbene leggendo Europa und das Römische Recht si possano cogliere alcuni passaggi contraddittorî, in quanto il Koschaker non esita a definire il Diritto romano un Kaiserrecht, all’epoca del Sacro Romano Impero, l’aspetto più debole della ricostruzione proposta dall’autore tedesco consta del fatto che, nonostante l’esaltazione del metodo casistico adottato dalla giurisprudenza romana, egli sembra infine insistere solo sugli aspetti formali della produzione del diritto, trascurando qualsiasi valutazione di tipo valoriale. La persistenza del Diritto romano nel corso della storia pare essere, dunque, legata soprattutto a fattori esterni e contingenti, e tale impostazione si riflette sulla sua stessa proposta per il recupero del Diritto romano e del suo insegnamento, sintetizzata nel motto “Zurück zu Savigny” e nel concetto della Aktualisierung. Nonostante lo sforzo meritorio dell’autore, quest’ultima rischia tuttavia di risolversi in una petitio principii e in un mero richiamo formale alla metodologia dei giuristi romani.