Croatian Legal History in the European Context
The course in the English language: Croatian legal history in the European context


The course of Croatian legal history in the European context in the English language is offered to foreign students studying at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb in some of the exchange or visiting programs. Foreign students studying at some other faculty of the University of Zagreb can also enroll in the course providing that necessary administrative requirements at the Faculty of Law are fulfilled. Students interested in taking the course should apply to the administration of the Faculty or contact lecturer directly.



The course is offered in the form of lectures with the oral exam at the end. Lectures, tutorials and examination are offered in the English language. It is possible to write a paper and/or deliver a presentation on Croatian legal history that will be taken into account in the final evaluation.  During the semester, a one-day or several-days historical excursion can be organised, depending upon the number and interests of students.


Aim and contents

This course aims at providing a general survey of the development of the Croatian constitutional and legal system from time of arrival of the Croats (7th century) and formation of the Croatian principalities and the Croatian kingdom (8-10th century) to the dissolution of Yugoslavia and formation of the independent Croatian state (20-21st century). It highlights the Croatian political and legal tradition in order to enable a deeper understanding of the contemporary Croatian legal system and legal culture as well as currently undergoing processes. The core of the course is the Croatian legal tradition, but the relationship with other relevant constitutional and legal systems and their influences is also examined (Byzantine, Venetian, German, Austrian, Hungarian, Russian etc). The course particularly focuses on the modern and contemporary period (19th-20th century). The main sources of constitutional, private and criminal law are discussed together with the administration of justice and administrative organization as well as their political context.


General and specific skills that are to be acquired by the course study:

Students should be enabled to view the contemporary Croatian legal system and legal culture as well as the political development in the region in a more complex light. Students should also be enabled to understand more profoundly the functioning of particular institutions of the Croatian legal systems (law in action) as determined by their historical development within specific social and political environment; that includes understanding of the contemporary problems in judiciary, criminal and civil justice, parliamentarism, public administration etc.


Examination and allocation of credits

Oral exam. Written paper will also be taken in account when deciding about the mark. Number of credits (ECTS): 8.


Oral presentation (optional)

Students interested in delivering oral presentation are invited to send e-mail message with a proposal of the topic they want to present to doc. dr. sc. Mirela Krešić (mirela.kresic@pravo.hr). These students will be instructed by the assistants on the Chair on literature and content of the topic as well as on principles of oral presentations (Paper Writing Manual for the Croatian Legal History, DOWNLOAD).


Compulsory Literature:

Dalibor Čepulo, Croatian constitutional and legal history from the middle ages to the contemporary time_DOWNLOAD

Particular attention shall be paid to the following chapters: Part one: I/1.-2., 3.2, 3.6.,, II/1.-2., III/1.-2. Part two: I/1.-2., 3.1.-3.2. (review), 4.1. (review), 4.2., 5.1. (review), 5.2.-5.3., 5.4.-5.5. (review), 6, 7 (review), 8; II/1.-3. (review), 4; IV/1., 2. (review), 3.-5. Part three: I/1.1.-1.2., 2., 3.2.-3.4., 4.1.-4.3., 5., 6.1.; II/1., 2., 3. (review), 6., IV.

Students are advised to use The Little Lexicon of Croatian Legal History (download from the list of additional literture).


Additional literature (not obligatory):

Goldstein, Ivo: Croatia: A History, McGill Queens Univ. Pr., 2000.

Čepulo, Dalibor, Krešić, Mirela and Hlavačka Milan (eds.), Croatian, Slovenian and Czech Constitutional Documents 1818-1849, De Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 2010.

Čepulo, Dalibor, Building of the modern legal system in Croatia 1848-1918 in the centre-periphery perespective, Modernisierung durch Transfer im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert, Tomasz Giaro (hg.)., Frankfurt am Main : Vitorio Klosterman Verlag, 2006., 47-91.

Čepulo, Dalibor, Continuities and discontinuities: the constitutional and political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 1990.Časopis za suvremenu povijest 36 (2004.) 1, 361-414.

The Little Lexicon of Croatian Legal History (DOWNLOAD)



Professor  Dalibor Čepulo

Dalibor Čepulo is a Professor of legal history at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb where he teaches various courses on the Croatian and European legal traditions and legal culture at the graduate and postgraduate level. He has writen or edited several books and large number of papers in Croatian and international editions and participated in various international and Croatian research projects.