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What pleases the prince: Justinian, Napoleon and the lawyers

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Following the precedent of Justinian, First Consul and then Emperor Napoleon proposed to enhance his military achievements with a legal Code based on the riches of Roman law and a system of legal education designed to perpetuate it. Like Justinian, Napoleon prohibited 'interpretation' of his creation on the grounds that this would contravene imperial will (quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem) -- as opposed to the countervailing principle of popular sovereignty. Yet in neither case could the prince stop history, for in the effort to adapt the code to changing conditions of society later jurists promoted just such subversive violations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 88 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8542, USA.. Email: dkelley@rci.rutgers.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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