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Ius commune and local testamentary succession laws in the periphery of the European academic tradition. A comparative analysis of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Low Countries.

Description of the project

The CELSA project (Central Europe Leuven Strategic Alliance) „Ius commune and local testamentary succession laws in the periphery of the European academic tradition. A comparative analysis of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Low Countries” is dedicated to building a wider-scale comparison of the impact of the ius commune on local customs in the field of testamentary succession in different (Western, Central and Eastern) European regions, with close attention to the consequences of the application of Roman and canon law for customary societal and family structures as well. Based on archival material, the project studies the extent to which the reception of the learned law (ius commune) in the area of inheritance law – especially the law of last wills – has brought about important societal changes.These changes in crucial areas of the law of inheritance could have an important impact on legal practice. The degree of testamentary freedom, the acceptance of female witnesses, the flexibility in case of epidemics of pestilence, the legitimate portion for the ab intestato heirs: they tell us a lot about the relative importance of the ancestral family, the status of spouses, the role of children, etc. Whereas there has of course been earlier research on the impact of the ius commune on testamentary law and acts of last will, we are convinced that much was still left for further study. Several jurisdictions (like Poland and Lithuania, but also several other Central European jurisdictions) have not yet received the attention they deserve in the international debate.

The goal of this project is twofold: (i) the preparation of a “Doctoral Networks” grant in the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (call 2022 – deadline mid-November 2022); and (ii) the organization of a scientific conference on the topic in Kraków on 12-13 January 2023 – with a common book project.

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