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08 July 2016

BOOK: Maksymilian DEL MAR & Michael LOBBAN (eds.), Law in Theory and History. New Essays on a Neglected Dialogue. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2016, 352 p. ISBN 9781849467995, £ 75

 (image source: Bloomsbury)

Maksymilian Del Mar (Queen Mary University School of Law) and Michael (LSE Law) have published an edited volume assembling essays on the "neglected dialogue" between legal theory and legal history.

Book presentation:
This collection of original essays brings together leading legal historians and theorists to explore the oft-neglected but important relationship between these two discplines. Legal historians have often been sceptical of theory. The methodology which informs their own work is often said to be an empirical one, of gathering information from the archives and presenting it in a narrative form. The narrative produced by history is often said to be provisional, insofar as further research in the archives might falsify present understandings and demand revisions. On the other side, legal theorists are often dismissive of historical works. History itself seems to many theorists not to offer any jurisprudential insights of use for their projects: at best, history is a repository of data and examples, which may be drawn on by the theorist for her own purposes. The aim of this collection is to invite participants from both sides to ask what lessons legal history can bring to legal theory, and what legal theory can bring to history. What is the theorist to do with the empirical data generated by archival research? What theories should drive the historical enterprise, and what wider lessons can be learned from it? This collection brings together a number of major theorists and legal historians to debate these ideas.
 Table of contents:
Part I: Introducing the Dialogue between Legal Theory and Legal History
Legal Theory and Legal History: Prospects for Dialogue  (Michael Lobban) (3-21)
Beyond Universality and Particularity, Necessity and Contingency:
On Collaboration Between Legal Theory and Legal History (Maks Del Mar) (22-38)
Legal Theory and Legal History: A View from Anthropology (Fernanda Pirie) (39-44)
Legal Theory and Legal History: Which Legal Theory? (Sionaidh Douglas-Scott) (45-53)

Part II: Methodology and Historiography
Historicism and Materiality in Legal Theory (Christopher Tomlins) (57-83)
Legal Consciousness: A Metahistory (Jonathan Gorman) (84-105)
Modelling Law Diachronically: Temporal Variability in Legal Theory (Maks Del Mar) (108-126)
Is Comparative Law Necessary for Legal Theory? (John Bell) (127-146)

Part III: The History of Theory
Reading Juristic Theories In and Beyond Historical Context: The Case of Lundstedt’s Swedish Legal Realism (Roger Cotterrell) (149-166)
Legal Realism and Natural Law (Dan Priel & Charles Barzun) (167-187)
The Role of Rules: Legal Maxims in Early-modern Common Law Principle and Practice (Ian Williams) (188-205)
Theory in History: Positivism, Natural Law and Conjectural History in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century English Legal Thought (Michael Lobban) (206-231)

Part IV: Uses and Limits of Theory in History
Legal History and Legal Theory Shaking Hands: Towards a Gentleman’s Agreement About a Definition of the State (Jean-Louis Halpérin and Pierre Brunet) (233-249)
Law, Self-interest, and the Smithian Conscience (Joshua Getzler) (250-283)
The Practical Dimension of Legal Reasoning (Stephen Waddams) (284-304)
Corrective Justice—An Idea Whose Time Has Gone?  (Steve Hedley) (305-327)

Afterword
How History Does and Does Not Bear on Jurisprudence (Brian Z Tamanaha) (329-340)
 More information here.

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