The Corpus Juris Civilis, created by order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to compile the laws in force at the time, would become a vital foundation for both the civil law and common law traditions. Important figures in the development of the United States’ law used principles listed in the Corpus as a guide, and to this day legal scholars and historians still refer to it. As a system of law based on principles, not case law, the Corpus provided the framework upon which France built the Code Napoleon. The Corpus' influence can be seen in the legal systems of many European nations, those nations’ former colonial dependencies, and Louisiana. Despite its importance, the Corpus can seem impenetrable to researchers, citations to the Corpus enigmatic. This program will give a history of the Corpus, describe its components, and give participants tools for researching it.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Presented at A Law Library of Louisiana Free CLE, co-sponsored by the Law Library of Louisiana and the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society on November 12, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Additional information about the event is available here.

Dingledy_Corpus_Juris_Civilis_Handout_November_12_2015.pdf (681 kB)
Corpus Juris Civilis Handout (LA CLE)