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Loyola University New Orleans School of Law joins in 200-year celebration

Loyola press release - August 19, 2004

Loyola University New Orleans School of Law joins in 200-year celebration of the French Civil Code

(New Orleans)—The School of Law at Loyola University New Orleans, the Louisiana Supreme Court and the French Ministry of Justice will come together in New Orleans to celebrate the Bicentennial of the French Civil Code. On Wednesday, September 8, legal scholars and distinguished justices will offer a day filled with exciting discussions, historical perceptions and a tour of the newly restored Louisiana Supreme Court located in the French Quarter.

The day begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Loyola President, the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., and Law Dean Brian Bromberger. Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero, Jr. and his French counterpart Guy Canivet, president of the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest and most important appellate court for civil matters, will both make presentations. The day will end with discussions on the French code as a model for most of Louisiana’s civil code. Other speakers include Professors David Gruning and Mary Algero from Loyola, Justices Bernette Johnson and Jeffrey P. Victory from the Louisiana Supreme Court, and Judge Alain Lacabarats, president of the Paris Court of Appeal.

The relationship between France and Louisiana is significant. The first French Civil Code, adopted in 1804, is commonly referred to as the Code Napoleon. It was the first successful attempt to codify European Civil Law; that is, the private civil law of continental Europe derived in part from Roman law and the work of European scholars who rediscovered and elaborated on Roman law in the middle ages up until the French Revolution. The Code Napoleon was influential throughout Europe, Latin America, and Asia and many countries’ private civil law have borrowed from it or been influenced by it. When Louisiana lawyers drafted the first civil code for Louisiana in 1808, they, too, borrowed heavily from the Code Napoleon and were influenced by it. Today, significant parts of Louisiana’s current civil code are still closely modeled on, and in some case still almost identical to, the Code Napoleon.

As Assistant Professor of Law John Lovett explains, “Civilian legal systems, especially those with Civil Codes like France, tend to regard laws enacted by the legislature as the most important source of law. Common law systems, like England, and the rest of the United States, have laws made by legislatures, too, but also give great consideration to laws made by judges—the common law. Louisiana today is a mixed jurisdiction. We have a strong civil code that, just as the Code Napoleon did, provides the most important source of law for subjects like family law, successions, private contracts, property, leases, sales, and mortgage, but we have also adopted laws and legal practices from our common law neighbors in the other 49 states.”

Academic Excellence, Ideal Size, Rich Jesuit Tradition…It’s this unique combination that distinguishes Loyola University New Orleans from other institutions. Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. The Loyola School of Law operates both a day program for full-time students and an evening program for part-time students with a total enrollment of approximately 650 students and 30 full-time faculty members. The law school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association. Visit Loyola University New Orleans on the World Wide Web at http://www.loyno.edu

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