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Nordic Perspectives on Contract and Property Law with an Environmental Perspective: Examples from Norway

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2020

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Summary

CHARACTERISTICS OF NORDIC CONTRACT LAW AND NORDIC PROPERTY LAW – INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

INTERWOVEN HISTORIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT SHAPING A NORDIC LEGAL TRADITION

In order to provide a Nordic perspective in the legal development in the interface between contract law, property law and environmental law to a non- Scandinavian audience, I will start with a brief presentation of the Nordic legal tradition with special emphasis on the core elements of Nordic contract law as well as Nordic property law. Hopefully such an introduction will give an increased understanding of how Nordic law differs from continental European legal traditions as well as from common law. Perhaps such an introduction also will give the reader reasons to reflect on similarities and differences in his/her own legal system. Nordic countries may moreover inspire new possibilities in the development of one's own national law in a direction that supports environmental considerations using contract or property law as tools for such a development.

The Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, situated at the northern outskirt of Europe, share a historic and political development that has been interwoven for many centuries. The Scandinavian languages are quite similar. Among the Nordic countries, only Finland has a language that significantly differs from the other countries, its language belonging to the Finnish-Hungarian language family whereas Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have developed from the Old Norse language, belonging to the North-Germanic branch of the language tree. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are so similar that people from these countries can communicate using their own language.

Geography, language, and an interwoven political history have led to a more or less common legal history and development of a legal tradition in these five countries. Books on comparative law often refer to Scandinavian (or Nordic) law as a separate legal family, which can be distinguished from both traditional continental European legal tradition (civil law) and common law. Since the main purpose of this article is to give an update on modern Nordic contract and property law with an environmental perspective, I will not dig deep into the legal history of the five Nordic countries. I will however present a few historical facts that may contribute to understanding why we can talk about a common Nordic legal tradition.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2020

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