Federico Losurdo


The golden age of legal certainty was definitely that of juridical individualism: it was the age in which the jurist's main aspiration was to get over the extreme pluralism and chaotic nature of sources characterising the medieval juridical order, and reduce the complexity of law to a harmony of rigorous geometrical shapes, or to a system of logical deductions with just a few fundamental principles.

Coding of private law in the 19th century aimed mainly at guaranteeing the generality, stability, and knowledge of the rules. The bourgeois society model needed rational, computable law that could protect the good functioning of market economy.

This resulted in a drastic limit to jurisprudence's creative power. The “school of exegesis” (maximum expression of legal formalism) felt that the solution for each possible real life case can be found "within" the Code, with no need to refer to extrapositive rules to express the rule of judgement: the judge as "mouth of the law" to quote the famous expression by Montesquieu.

In other words, for 19th century bourgeoisie the code was a great conquest, almost a final step in human progress. For them it embodied all the enlightenment ideals. It was a general law (hence egalitarian), simple and clear; the legal magma had been reduced to a coherent system. In brief, the Code was the cornerstone of the bourgeois legal system, and was its reassuring written Constitution.


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Department of Law - University of Perugia
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Comparative Law Review is registered at the Courthouse of Monza (Italy) - Nr. 1988 - May, 10th 2010.
Editors - Prof. Giovanni Marini, Prof. Pier Giuseppe Monateri, Prof. Tommaso Edoardo Frosini, Prof. Salvatore Sica, Prof. Alessandro Somma, Prof. Giuseppe Franco Ferrari, Prof. Massimiliano Granieri.

Direttore responsabile:Alessandro Somma