Just as Spanish nationality was formed with the fusion of very different ethnic elements, so also Spanish law arose from the fusion of very varied legal elements over the course of a long history. The main elements of Spanish law are two: the Roman and the Germanic (Visigothic). Properly Spanish law begins when these two elements begin to interpenetrate. Since the first contacts of Hispano-Roman law with the Visigothic in the peninsula, canon law strongly influenced them, up to the 10th century. XI in its national forms after Gregory VII also in its Roman, Pretridentine and tridentine. This influence, starting from the Visigothic collections, is so intense and varied that canon law has to be admitted as the main element of Spanish law, alongside Roman and Germanic. As secondary but important elements, pre-Roman indigenous law must be pointed out, which gave Roman law in the peninsula a very marked provincial character, and then Muslim law. On the other hand, one cannot admit an appreciable influence of Jewish law and Frankish law (the legend of the fueros Franks, defended by Helfferich among the Germans and by Clermont among the French, has long been debunked). Spanish law, which arose as a product of the fusion of these elements, can be said, within certain limits, to be fundamentally one, just as nationality is one. This fundamental unity does not, however, take away from the fact that in the field of civil law even today there is a very lively variety in the peninsula. Alongside the Spanish code, which we could call common, five other legislations existed in Spain before the 1936 civil war (Aragon, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Navarre, Vizcaya), some of them very broad. For Spain 2016, please check softwareleverage.org.
Period of the fueros or of Germanic local rights. – With the Arab invasion (711) the political unity founded on the Visigothic state was broken. The national unity, rooted in the communion of blood, religion and tenaciously preserved Roman culture, remained, although it sometimes seems to weaken. Legal unity was also largely preserved. The struggle for the reconquest begins immediately, in the same century. VIII, in different regions (Asturias, Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia) independent from each other and Christian kingdoms or principalities are gradually formed. From the juridical point of view, there are some characteristics common to the internal evolution of these centers of the reconquest: a) the Liber iudiciorum is recognized in force everywhere., as a fundamental right. It was considered and observed as a law in force even in the territories subjected to Muslims. The Visigothic collection was completed, annotated, translated into Arabic and gradually into the various vulgar languages. b) Germanic customary law, ousted by the Lex Visigotorum, is revived in all kingdoms, albeit with different intensity. It especially informs local fueros (see below), that they are a true flowering of a very characteristic Germanic law similar, it seems, to Norwegian and Icelandic Germanic law (G. Ficker, Über nähere Verwandtschaft zwischen gotisch – spanischen und norwegisch – isländischen Recht, in Mitteil. des Inst. f. österreich. geschichtl. Forschung, VI). c) With the 9th century the most singular juridical phenomenon of this period begins: the appearance of the local fueros. These fueros are very numerous in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they fade in the century. XIII and almost disappear in the XIV. The local law of the fueros is a crude law, responding to the needs and circumstances of the reconquest and to the Visigothic and, in some points, perhaps even Hispanic popular traditions. Local law overcomes the broader and more general law; this becomes supplementary with regard to the first. d) From the century XI onwards, faced with local law, territorial law begins to form and develop, which embraces an entire region. The first examples are two: in the western regions the territorial law of the assembly of León of 1017-1020, and in the eastern regions that contained in the Usatges of Barcelona (1068 ff.). This territorial law begins to complete the local law, but then limits it and ends in the following periods to overcome and overwhelm it. Territorial law takes on different forms: that of general fueros, which is the main one, takes place rather in the following period. In these territorial rights we find the germ of the regional rights so deeply rooted, even today, in Spain. Several hundreds of fueros, in Latin and in the vernacular. e) Frankish law exerted its influence in Catalonia at the beginning of this period. It lasts during the period of the feudal union of Catalonia with France; that is, during the eighth and ninth centuries. The influence is limited to feudal and procedural law. The fundamental legal monument of Catalonia at this time is constituted by the usatges of Barcelona (Usalia or Usatici Barcinonae). They became the Charta magna of Barcelona first, and then of the whole Catalan territory. After the studies of Ficker and Valls and Taberner (Estudis d’historia juridica Catalana, Barcelona 1929) we can distinguish in these Usalia (judicial customs) three different editorial offices. The first nucleus includes about 60 Usaticians, and was compiled between 1055 and 1071. They were increased to 150 between 1076 and 1082. The additions contain later laws, articles taken from Spain Isidoro, from the Visigothic code, from the book of Tübingen, from some canonical collections (Caesar augustana, etc.). Later various editions were made, public and private, with successive additions and a different number of articles which reached 174 in the most complete. The collection was organized by the glossators and commentators of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, sorted by subject. f) The Roman element would have almost disappeared in this period if there had not been the Liber iudiciorum.