On-line version ISSN 2411-7870
ROELOFSEN, C.G.. An umbilical cord to be preserved: The relationship between Roman law and public international law. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2014, vol.20, n.2, pp. 814-824. ISSN 2411-7870.
In the Netherlands and elsewhere the position of Roman law as an integral part of legal studies is now under a serious threat. This is not a matter for civilians only. International lawyers have good reason to be concerned. Public international law is not only in its origins the product of the European Roman law tradition; its development too owes much to imported Roman law principles and institutions. These have not been rendered obsolete by the massive United Nations codifications and the enormous development of international law in the last fifty years. There is no international legislature and therefore no "global constitution". However, a common legal system overarching the material rules is indispensable. Traditionally, this function was fulfilled by Roman law. Because this threatens to disappear from general legal education, it makes sense to strengthen the historical introduction, notably its Roman law component, in the curriculum of future international lawyers. Somewhat to my surprise, this pragmatic conclusion leads me to agree with the conclusion of Professor Baldus' comparative study and to vindicate Laurens Winkel's practice as a teacher of the history of international law.