The Social Role of Private Law (Otto von Gierke, 1889)
(2018) 19(4) German Law Journal 1017
55 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 13 Aug 2018
Date Written: October 31, 2016
'The Social Role of Private Law' was a public lecture given by Otto von Gierke in 1889 as a leading critique of the codification of private law in the German Civil Code. Although highly influential in German legal theory and history, this is the first English translation of Gierke's work. The English translation is given in parallel to the original German, and is preceded by an introductory essay, 'A Social Law beyond Public v Private'. Over 120 years after Gierke's original lecture, the concept of 'social law' is developing a rival taxonomy to overtake the increasingly problematic public-private divide, including the subcategories of obligations, property and persons. With Gierke's contemporaries, Maitland and Holmes, and the framers of 20th century political constitutions such as Sinzheimer, the Webbs or Berle, the basis of a social law has been embraced in all but name.
Note: Downloadable document is available in German and English.
Keywords: Social law, private law, public law, obligations, property, person, corporations, nation-state, international law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K11, K12, K13, K14, K20, K22, K31, K33, K36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation