DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN CODES
The influence of the Justinian Code was great. Long after Rome fell, Roman law, as codified by Justinian, continued to serve as a source of law in Europe in the form of civil law. Through a 13th-century Spanish code called Siete Partidas (Seven Parts) that was based partly on the Justinian Code, the Justinian Code was later extended to the New World and, with the Siete Partidas, became the basis for the legal systems of most of Latin America.
A modern code is designed to provide a comprehensive statement of the laws in force in a single branch of the law in a logical and convenient arrangement and in precise and unambiguous phraseology. Modern codes include codes of civil, criminal, and public law and codes of civil and criminal procedures.
Statesmen of modern times have regarded legal codes as necessary instruments of national unity and central authority. Napoleon planned the Code Civil des Français, later renamed the Code Napoléon, as a means of consolidating his realm. The Code Napoléon, one of the most important modern codes, is the basis of the legal systems of Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Italy, Portugal, Haiti, the state of Louisiana in the United States, and the province of Quebec in Canada. It also influenced the legal systems of a number of Latin American countries.
Other important modern codes include the Danske Lov, proclaimed in 1683 by Christian V of Denmark and Norway; Code Frédéric, or Gesetzbuch (Law Book), proclaimed by the Prussian king Frederick II in 1751 and renamed Landrecht in 1794; and the Gesetzbuch of Germany, issued in 1900, which influenced the later codes of Switzerland, Turkey, and China. Although not a product of secular authority, the Codex Juris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) of the Roman Catholic Church, which came into effect in 1918, is regarded as an important modern code; it marked the culmination of almost 1,900 years of development in the field of canon law.