2433.14 - Legal History

Course number
Legal History
Bachelor degree or equivalent with adequate component of law
To give insight into the Faroese legal history (laws and court system) – emphasising finding and understanding older Faroese legal sources, and how the legal order in the Faroe Islands has evolved from the Althing to the present day order. The connection between history and law is explained, how the various historical developments and periods are reflected in law and court system. Important periods are the settlement, the unification of the Norwegian realm, absolutism and its reforms, and more resent struggles for democracy, self-determination and development. Important element of the legal history and its relevance for current arrangements is the understanding of Faroese distance from various central powers that gave both need and opportunity to develop autonomous systems in varying interaction with the larger systems. Faroese customary law is fundamental to understand in order to appreciate older Faroese history and many later challenges both in interpreting law and in reforming economy and society.
The course starts with looking at the King’s Book, the oldest surviving Faroese Collection of Law, and placing it in the international context both historically and legally. Progressively further such sources will be examines that shed light on periods and trends, including global legal history, Nordic legal history, the Old Covenants (monarchy in the west), elder absolutism (feudal period), enlightened absolutism (reforms and funds), democracy (parliament reconvened), democracy (influence and limitations), second world war (interim constitution), elder and younger form of government, taking over power and the welfare society. Emphasis shall be on examination of various concepts and contexts of relevance to the various themes, including the customary courts and ancient legislation in Norse tradition, as well as describing the Faroese traditional village as a jurisdiction per se in addition to the superior institutions above and how these institutions interacted. Examples will continuously be used from the Thing Books, and other official records. In further developments, other trends such as absolutism, fysiocratism and modernisation will be look at, and their influence on the Faroes studied. Time will also be awarded to comparative law, electoral systems and the changing forms of government for the Faroe Islands.
Learning and teaching approaches
40 hours, of which 36 are organised into a schedule and others include visits and special exercises. The teaching shall be organised as lectures and exercises in addition to student presentations. A special component is the written report that shall be improved following presentation
Learning outcomes
The students shall: -Describe Faroese laws and courts in historical context emphasising trends and periods. -Demonstrate the ability to find, read and understand older legal sources. -Analyse the relevance of a federal arrangement in this context, what influence monarchy and later common policy areas and international law have had on Faroese legal history. -Describe the relevant methods and challenges of interpretation regarding various historical periods, including the importance of dynamic practise and various forms of custom. -Describe basic and special powers and rights of the institutions and citizen of the Faroe Islands historically. -Analyse difficult legal and philosophical challenges using comparative methods and demonstrating understanding of all relevant types of legal sources from the domestic jurisdiction as well as neighbouring countries and internationally. -Analyse the development that can be seen or expected in various fields, where legal history is pertinent. -Present and pursue arguments in a balanced manner with an understanding of the differing philosophical trends, varying interests and scopes of interpretation, and developments of various legal fields. -Present and pursue arguments with an understanding of the practical importance of the various periods, customs and evolved practises. -Presenting and formulating knowledge and arguments professionally and eloquently marked by clear organisation and context.
Assessment method
Written report counts 1/3 – the report shall be presented in class and following discussion be improved for final assessment. Oral exam shall count 2/3. External examiners (with teachers)
Kári á Rógvi