Lessons from Roman law: EU law in England and Wales after Brexit

John Cotter*, Elaine Dewhurst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The experience of Roman law in legal education in England and Wales may serve as a cautionary tale for EU law post-Brexit. Similarly, past debates as to the position of Roman law in the curriculum may also be instructive in the EU law context. After tracing the history of the teaching of Roman law in England and Wales, this article posits first that the factors that appear to have caused the decline of Roman law could apply equally in the context of EU law. Secondly, based on both pragmatic and liberal education arguments that have historically been proffered for the study of Roman law, it advances arguments for the retention of a compulsory stand-alone EU law module in England and Wales after Brexit. To this end, the paper contends that the arguments for the retention of EU law in legal education are more robust than those asserted traditionally in favour of Roman law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalLaw Teacher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2019


  • Brexit
  • European Union law
  • Roman law

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