John Hudson has been awarded a European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’ of over two million Euros for a project entitled ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’. The project will employ four post-doctoral fellows and two PhD students.
Professor Hudson outlines the project as follows: ‘A highly significant division in present-day Europe is between two types of legal system: the Continental with foundations in Civil Law (law with an ultimately Roman law basis), and English Common Law. Both trace their continuous history back to the twelfth century. The present project re-evaluates this vital period in legal history, by comparing not just English Common Law and Continental Civil Law (or “Ius commune”), but also the customary laws crucially important in Continental Europe even beyond the twelfth century. Such laws shared many features with English law, and the comparison thus disrupts the simplistic English:Continental distinction. The project first analyses the form, functioning and development of local, national, and supra-national laws. Similarities, differences, and influences will then be examined from perspectives of longer-term European legal development. Proper historical re-examination of the subject is very timely because of current invocation of supposed legal histories, be it Eurosceptic celebration of English Common Law or rhetorical use of Ius commune as precedent for a common European Law.’