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Editor: Katja Tikka
The Development of Commercial Law in Sweden and Finland provides a broad perspective on recent research into the history of North European commercial law in a comparative and international framework. The book brings together themes that have previously been considered largely from a national perspective.

Despite Sweden's and Finland's peripheral locations in Europe, global legal phenomena took place there as well. These countries were at the crossroads of cultures and commercial interests, allowing us to re-examine them as lively laboratories for commercial laws and practices rather than dismissing them as a negligible periphery. The importance of trade and international transactions cannot be disclaimed, but the book also emphasizes the resilient nature of commercial law.

Contributors are: Dave De ruysscher, Stefania Gialdroni, Ulla Ijäs, Marko Lamberg, Heikki Pihlajamäki, Jussi Sallila, and Katja Tikka.
Equity in Early Modern Legal Scholarship takes the reader through the vast amount of legal writings on equity that were published in continental Europe in early modern times. The book offers the first comprehensive overview of the development of the legal concept of equity through the sixteenth and seventeenth century. During this time, equity scholarship broke with its medieval past and entered a lively debate on the nature and function of the concept. Lorenzo Maniscalco links these developments to the early modern identification of equity with Aristotelian epieikeia, a conceptual shift that brought down the barrier that divided theological and legal writings on equity and led to its development as a tool for the interpretation and amendment of legal rules.
A Diachronic Semantic Analysis of Consideration in the Common Law
Author: Caroline Laske
In this monograph, Caroline Laske traces the advent of consideration in English contract law, by analysing the doctrinal development, in parallel with the corresponding terminological evolution and semantic shifts between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is an innovative, interdisciplinary study, showcasing the value of taking a diachronic corpus linguistics-based approach to the study of legal change and legal development, and the semantic shifts in the corresponding terminology. The seminal application in the legal field of these analytical methodologies borrowed from pragmatic linguistics goes beyond the content approach that legal research usually practices and it has allowed for claims of semantic change to be objectified. This ground-breaking work is pitched at scholars of legal history, law & language, and linguistics.
While comparative constitutional law is a well-established field, less attention has been paid so far to the comparative dimension of constitutional history. The present volume, edited by Francesco Biagi, Justin O. Frosini and Jason Mazzone, aims to address this shortcoming by bringing focus to comparative constitutional history, which holds considerable promise for engaging and innovative work along several key avenues of inquiry. The essays contained in this volume focus on the origins and design of constitutional governments and the sources that have impacted the ways in which constitutional systems began and developed, the evolution of the principle of separation of powers among branches of government, as well as the origins, role and function of constitutional and supreme courts.

Contributors include: Mark Somos, Gohar Karapetian, Justin O. Frosini, Viktoriia Lapa, Miguel Manero de Lemos, Francesco Biagi, Ctherine Andrews, Gonçalo de Almeida Ribeiro, Mario Alberto Cajas-Sarria, and Fabian Duessel.
Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages – Spaces of Action and Legal Strategies explores the significance of inheritance law from medieval times to the present through topical and in-depth studies that bring life to historical and contemporary inheritance practices. The contributions cover three themes: status of persons and options in the process of property devolution; wills, gift-giving and legal disputes as means to shape the working of the law; processes of inheritance legislation.

The authors focus on instances where legal strategies of various actors particularly reveal inheritance law as a contested and yet constrained space of action, and somewhat surprisingly show similar solutions to family law issues dealt with in other Western European countries.

Contributors are: Simone Abram, Gitte Meldgaard Abrahamsen, Per Andersen, Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir, John Asland, Knut Dørum, Thomas Eeg, Ian Peter Grohse, Marianne Holdgaard, Astrid Mellem Johnsen, Már Jónsson, Mia Korpiola, Gabriela Bjarne Larsson, Auður Magnúsdóttir, Bodil Selmer, Helle I. M. Sigh, and Miriam Tveit.
Author: Miriam Tveit

Abstract

The article aims to identify the legal approach to ‘backwards inheritance’ in medieval Scandinavian law. When a person dies without descendants, the right to inherit from that person reverts to his or her ascendants, which could result in the property of one family falling to another family through marriage. In this article, the circumstances under which backwards inheritance was accepted or tried to be prevented in law is discussed, as well as the question of what the legislators’ strategies were. Scandinavian inheritance systems suggest that paternal inheritance rights dominated. However, the present study asserts that the legislation did not necessarily protect the interest of either the paternal or maternal kin group, but rather displayed concern for the surviving family.

In: Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages

Abstract

The relevance in terms of inheritance of a child being born outside wedlock is not only of historical interest. Children born out of wedlock in Denmark gained the legal right to inherit from their biological father in 1938, but if a father denied paternity, for centuries he was almost certainly not formally identified as the father, often due to the strict legal requirements of proof of fatherhood used in court. Further, from 2008, a father has been able to de facto hinder inheritance for his child born outside the marriage he was in at the time of his death, to such an extent that these children can be considered the ‘new illegitimate children’. This chapter examines the space of action fathers are given by the legislator in these two periods of time. The similarities of this comparison, including an examination of the preparatory works, show surprising correlation and interesting perspectives.

In: Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages

Abstract

As a fundamental rule, unmarried cohabitees in Denmark do not succeed to one another’s property under the Danish Inheritance Act (arveloven). Accordingly, cohabitants need to draw up a will in order to inherit from each other. However, various rules in Danish legislation may lead to a situation where an unmarried cohabitant receives assets on the occasion of the other cohabitant’s death. Thus, people in reality experience and understand this as inheritance. In this article, it will be questioned whether unmarried cohabitants have some sort of inheritance rights in Denmark in practice. Especially in relation to insurance and pensions, an unmarried cohabitant holds an advantageous position in Denmark, and the main focus of this article is therefore this topic. However, two other related legal areas will be mentioned briefly. The article concludes that there is no one clear or simple answer to the question – and some politico-legal reflections on the legal effects of the legislation on this area are made.

In: Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages
Author: John Asland

Abstract

This article describes and analyses the process leading up to equal inheritance rights for male and female heirs in Norway and the counter-measures taken in the Norwegian Inheritance Act of 1854 and later as a consequence of the act, especially regarding freedom of testation and allodial rights.

In: Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to extend our knowledge of how the joint property system functioned among nuclear burgher families in late-medieval Stockholm. By studying the distribution of properties, settled inheritance disputes and mutual or individual gifts between spouses, I am able to identify situations when the marital partnership was threatened. The cases in question are codified in the town court protocols. This confirmation became the legal proof of possession. In order to argue his case, the burgher referred to his account book, which was sometimes brought before the town court.

Of the Nordic countries, it was only in Sweden-Finland that urban property was distinguished from rural property. The two types of property were regulated by separate inheritance and succession laws. I argue that certain regulations in the Swedish Town Law facilitated devolutions and were used by burghers to promote business. I demonstrate that it was easy for spouses in a town to transfer lineal property from the male to the female line, something that, according to the Swedish Law of the Realm and in practice, was impossible to do in a rural marriage. The transactions made by husband and wife during the 1480s and 1520s in the town of Stockholm demonstrate a strong marital unit that always favoured the nuclear family – which in effect also meant their business – over their relatives. In the case of a death, the accumulated property of the partnership continued to be managed by the surviving spouse, even if he or she remarried. This, again, was out of the question for a widow in a rural setting.

In: Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages