Southern Cross: Civil Law and Common Law in South Africa

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

EditorReinhard Zimmermann, Daniel Visser

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This book provides a history of some of the main institutions of South African private law and in so doing explores the process through which integration of the English common law and the continental civil law came about in that jurisdiction. Here is a book aimed at both European and SouthAfrican audiences. For European lawyers it provides a stimulating insight into the way the process of harmonization of private law has occurred in South Africa and may occur within the European Union. By analysing the historical evolution of the most important institutions of the law of obligationsand the law of property the book demonstrates how the two legal traditions have been accommodated within one system. The starting point for each essay is the "pure" Roman-Dutch law as it was transplanted to the Cape of Good Hope in the years following 1652 (and as it has been examined inconsiderable detail in another volume edited by Robert Feenstra and Reinhard Zimmerman, published in 1992). the analysis focuses on how the Roman-Dutch law has been preserved, changed, modified or replaced in the course of the nineteenth century when the Cape became a British colony; and on whathappened after the creation of the union of South Africa in 1910. Each essay therefore attempts, in the field of law with which it is dealing, to answer questions such as: what was the level of interaction between the civil law and the common law? What were the mechanisms that brought about theparticular form of competition, coexistence or fusion that exists in that area of law? Is the process complete or is it still continuing? Is it possible to observe the emergence, from these two routes, of a genuinely South African private law? How is the result to be evaluated? In establishingreception patterns at the level of specific areas of law, they go beyond generalization about the compatibility of the two traditions and present evidence of a possible symbiosis of English and Continental law. For South African readers the principal value of the book is that it offers essays by the most prominent South African private lawyers refelecting on the history of their subjects. It therefore constitutes the first stage in the writing of a history of substantive private law in South Africa. Sofar the focus has mainly been on the so called "external history" of South African law, and such texts as there are on the development of the institutions of private law are often in Afrikaans and mainly to be found in unpublished theses. Thus this book fulfils a real need for those teaching SouthAfrican private law and legal history. Although the volume investigates a specific aspect of the making of modern South African law it is imperative not to lose sight of the fact that private law in that country, as every way else did not develop in a vacuum, but as part of a wider political and social prcess. For this reason the bookopens with an essay which contextualizes the contributions that follow, giving a view of the "setting" in which the development of South Africa took place: colonial domination, cultural imperialism, and racial and nationalistic ideologies. Two further introductory essays pay specific attention tothe impact of the procedural framework on the substantive private law and to the "architects" of the mixed system.

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This book provides a history of some of the main institutions of South African private law and in so doing explores the process through which integration of the English common law and the continental civil law came about in that jurisdiction. Here is a book aimed at both European and SouthAfrican audiences. For European lawyers it prov...

Reinhard Zimmermann is a Professor of Private Law, Roman Law and Comparative Legal History at the Faculty of Law at University of Regensburg. Daniel Visser is a Professor of Private Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:992 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.93 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198260873

ISBN - 13:9780198260875

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`A stimulating lesson for foreign lawyers looking for an in-depth study and a distinct comparative legal approach to a unique system of private law.'Ulf Marzik, Verfassung und Recht in Ubersee