Custom and Law in the Modern Period

Martyn Rady

in Customary Law in Hungary

Published in print August 2015 | ISBN: 9780198743910
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191803871 | DOI:
Custom and Law in the Modern Period

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Political History


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At the end of the eighteenth century, in the wake of Joseph II’s reforms, the diet began to assume the initiative in legal reform, although only a few of its proposals were converted into statute law. The revolution of 1848 saw the dismantling of seigneurial jurisdiction and the structure of noble land holding, as well as the effective repudiation of the Tripartitum. A phase of rapid reform was introduced in the neo-absolutist period of the 1850s, inaugurated by Franz Joseph. With the collapse of the neo-absolutist experiment, a legal vacuum occurred, into which the High Judge Conference reintroduced parts of the pre-1848 structure. Despite the inauguration of a parliamentary regime, statute law proved inadequate. It was augmented by judicial activism and ministerial decree. These extra-legal recourses were justified by reference to their embedding in customary practice. Thus customary law continued to maintain a rhetorical authority into the twentieth century.

Keywords: Joseph II; 1848; neo-absolutism; Franz Joseph; High Judge Conference; Országbirói Értekezlet ministerial decree; statute law

Chapter.  14280 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Political History

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