Western law

Western law refers to the legal traditions of Western culture. Western culture has an idea of the importance of law which has its roots in both Roman law and canon law. As Western culture shares a Graeco-Roman Classical and Renaissance cultural influence, so do its legal systems.


The rediscovery of the Justinian Code in the early 10th century rekindled a passion for the discipline of law, initially shared across many of the re-forming boundaries between East and West. Eventually, it was only in the Catholic or Frankish west that Roman law became the foundation of all legal concepts and systems. Its influence can be traced to this day in all Western legal systems, although differing in kind and degree between the common (Anglo-American) and the civil (continental European) legal traditions.

The study of canon law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, fused with that of Roman law to form the basis for the refounding of Western legal scholarship. Its principles of civil rights, equality before the law, equality of women, procedural justice, and democracy as the ideal form of society formed the basis of modern Western culture.[citation needed]