Le droit civil lituanien: avant et après l’adoption du Code civil en 2000.
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The article outlines some aspects of the civil law in Lithuania, an Eastern European country, which underwent an essential transformation in the last decades. The author outlines the development of the Lithuanian civil law from the oldest written sources up to the adoption of the new Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania in 2000. The author is critical about the denomination of Lithuania as a “new” state and draws attention to the history of Lithuanian law, which spans hundreds of years. The article emphasizes the continuity of the legal tradition and the heterogeneity of law – the coexisting of several legal systems in the territory of one state. The article discusses the role of Roman Law in the legal system of Lithuania. Even though Roman Law has never been applied in Lithuania, the author argues that it nevertheless had an indirect influence on Lithuanian private law. Roman Law and Canonical Law were among the main sources while drafting the three codified acts, the Statutes of Lithuania, in 1529, 1566 and 1588. The knowledge of Roman Law acquired by lawyers at universities in other European countries was transmitted through drafting of the laws and the jurisdictional and administrative practices. Due to historical reasons, however, the civil law in Lithuania was not codified until 2000. The article outlines the main reasons for the reform of private law after the restoration of Independence of Lithuania in 1990. The changes in the legal system were a natural outcome of the changes in political and economic structure of the state. The author describes the process of codification and the main sources, which inspired the drafters of the code. The new Civil Code is considered an essential factor in the process of creating a private law system in Lithuania. The new Dutch Civil Code was one of the main acts that were used as examples during the drafting process. Dutch authors draw attention to the following features of the Dutch Civil Code: its layered structure, the presence of bridge articles, open criteria and in-between solutions, the tendency to protect third and weaker parties. The author of this article argues that these features could also be applied to the new Lithuanian Civil Code.
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