10 December 2010

NOTICE: The Lawbook Exchange and the Corpus Iuris Civilis

The Lawbook Exchange has published the Standard Critical Edition of the Corpus Iuris Civilis in three volumes.

Their entry reads:

Reprint of the standard edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis and the basis for all modern English translations. Originally published from 1872 to 1895, this is one of the finest examples of German philology and legal scholarship. In this edition, sometimes called the "Berlin Edition," Krueger edited the Institutes, Mommsen edited the Digest; the Code and Novels were edited by Schoell and Kroll.

Commissioned by the Emperor Justinian in 530 CE, the body of writings known collectively as the Corpus Juris Civilis reformed, restated and preserved Roman law. Its subsequent influence on European and international jurisprudence is difficult to overestimate. It has four components. The Code is the reformed legal system. The Institutes is an elementary textbook about it. The Digest is a collection of commentary by leading jurisconsults. The Novels is a compilation of laws and amendments subsequent to the Code.

07 December 2010


The European Society for Comparative Legal History, founded on 5 December 2009 (St Nicholas' Eve) in The Hague, recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Over the past twelve months, we established this blog, held a very successful inaugural conference, and launched a collective project on Western legal traditions with the Ius Commune Casebook Series and Hart Publishing.

It's been a good year.

We want to thank all of those who have helped with our work and invite anyone who hasn't already become a member to do so now.

06 December 2010

OFFER: Hart Publishing Discount for Comparative Law Blog Readers

Members should know about the following generous standing offer from Hart Publishing for Comparative Law Blog readers:
Hart Publishing is delighted to offer readers of the comparativelawblog 20% discount on their comparative law titles. To receive the discount on any comparative law book please quote reference ‘CLB’ when placing your order. If you are ordering online then please quote the reference in the special instructions field. Please note that the discount will not show up on your order confirmation but will be applied when your order is processed.

23 November 2010

Call for Papers: 2011 Meeting of the American Society for Legal History

Call for Papers: 2011 Meeting of the American Society for Legal History

The 2011 meeting of the American Society for Legal History will be in Atlanta, Georgia, November 10-13, 2011. The ASLH invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. In selecting presenters, the Program Committee will give preference to those who did not present at last year’s meeting. Among the people selected to present, limited financial assistance will be available for those in need—with special priority given to graduate students and post-docs, as well as scholars traveling from abroad.

Proposals for both panels and individual papers are welcome. As concerns panels, the Program Committee encourages the submission of a variety of different types of proposals, including:

• classical 3-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair)
• incomplete 2-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair), which the Committee will complete with at least 1 more paper
• panels of 4 or more papers (with a separate commentator and chair)
• author-meets-reader panels
• roundtable discussions

Panel proposals should include the following:

• A 300-word description of the panel
• A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info)
• In the case of paper-based panels only, a 300-word abstract of each paper (as well as a draft of the paper, if possible)

Individual paper proposals should include:

• A c.v. for each presenter (including complete contact info)
• A 300-word abstract of each paper (as well as a draft of the paper, if possible)

The deadline for submitting proposals is February 28, 2011. Proposals should be sent as email attachments to Amalia Kessler, at

Those unable to send proposals as email attachments may mail hard copies to:

2011 ASLH Program Committee
c/o Amalia Kessler
Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610

09 November 2010

NOTICE: Leiter Poll on the Best US Law Faculties in Legal History

Professor Thomas P Gallanis has brought an interesting online poll to our attention. The poll is being conducted by law professor Brian Leiter on the best US law faculties in the area of legal history.

Perhaps we should organise a similar poll here ...

05 November 2010

NOTICE: SOLON's Crimes and Misdemeanours becomes Law, Crime and History

I received the following message today from SOLON:

Link to UOP
Dear All

when we launched the SOLON e-journal, Crimes and Misdemeanours, back in 2007, we had wanted to indicate through the title that this was a journal which was not just about crime - but even though we have always published material (think of some of the debate pieces!) that are more general law and history, it has become plain in the last year that the title has stood in the way of people offering us work, because some have not picked up (as we had hoped) on the 'Misdemeanours' element - after all, it does have a rather mixed meaning especially for an American audience, and we are an international network, especially now.

So after a great deal of agonising (especially over the new title), we have decided that the time has come to retitle the e-journal, laying Crimes and Misdemeanours gratefully to rest, and replacing it with a more straightforward, more inclusive title. So, the SOLON e-journal now becomes:


Having made that decision, we also debated again over whether there should be a final issue of Crimes and Misdemeanours, but it seemed more sensible, especially as several of the pieces in hand for it fitted better with the new title, to bury the old title immediately, and start 2011 afresh, publishing the first issue of Law, Crime and History in January 2011, so that it will be out in good time in advance of our next big confence, the 2nd Biennial War Crimes Conference (Justice - Whose Justice) in March at our usual London venue, IALS; permitting the conference report on that to come out in the summer. The second issue will be in good time for our next big conference of next year - Crime, Violence and the Modern State III (Law, Order and Individual Rights - Theory, Intent and Practice): in September at the Universite Lyon Lumiere, again permitting that conference report to feature in the next issue....

So LAW, CRIME AND HISTORY will appear for the first time in January 2011, with articles, debate piece, conference report and also, we hope some contributions from members of the network discussing what they are working on, as one of the things that SOLON wishes to do is to promote international as well as local interdisciplinary collaboration.

The broad intent of the e-journal remains the same: it will still be free to access and download, it remains a peer reviewed journal, and we are happy to publish both short pieces (including work in progress) and long pieces, as with Rob Falconer's article in what will now be the final issue under the old title. We look to publishing interesting and interdisciplinary papers, particularly welcoming those with a historical perspective (which is not the same as a historical chronology - a historical perspective or methodology is one which looks at even current and ongoing developments from the point of questioning why its happening this way, and not another....). We do hope that you will all consider submitting work to us, and that you will continue to read and support SOLON's e-journal under this new title!


The Directors

(Kim Stevenson, Judith Rowbotham, Zoe James, Richard Williams, Lorie Charlesworth, George Mair, David Nash, Ann-Marie Kilday, Cassie Watson, Sarah Wilson, Samantha Pegg)

01 November 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: East Meets West: A Gendered View of Legal Tradition (10-12 March 2011)

The following information was posted recently on the Legal History Blog:

East Meets West: A Gendered View of Legal Tradition

Posted by Dan Ernst

Recently posted is a call for papers on gender and European legal history, which is important both for the conference it heralds and for news of the network of scholars that is organizing it.

The conference is "East Meets West: A Gendered View of Legal Tradition." It will be the sixth conference of the research network Gender Difference in the History of European Legal Cultures. It will be held at the Central European University in March 10-12, 2011. It is sponsored by the university's departments of Gender Studies, History, Legal Studies, and Medieval Studies.

Submit abstracts before December 15, 2010, to a member of the organizing committee: Dr. Grethe Jacobsen, Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark,; Prof. em. Dr. Heide Wunder, Bad Nauheim, Germany,; Dr. Gerhard Jaritz, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, The organizers promise to send out responses by January 2011.

The "geographical frame" of the conference is "a global perspective with a basis in European legal cultures and with a special focus on Eastern Europe." Its chronological frame is from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. The conference language is English.

The organizers have announced three themes: (1) "Gendered Legal Cultures: Theories and Methods"; (2) Gender, Community and Law, including property rights and economic influence, gendered work roles and guild membership, labour movements and the state; and (3) "Migration and competing legal cultures - towards a global perspective. " Presentations may take the form of papers, workshop presentations or panel discussions. The organizers stress that presenters should leave "plenty of room for discussion."

Here is the call's interesting description of the sponsoring "network" and its history:

The European network was founded at a conference entitled ‘gender difference in European law/Geschlechterdifferenz in europäischen Recht’ held at the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt, Germany, in February 2000 and organized by Heide Wunder, then professor at Kassel University. The network was named “Geschlechterdifferenz in europäischen Rechtskreisen / Gender differences in European legal cultures” at first but has since changed name to the international network “Gender Differences in the History of European Legal Cultures”.

The first conference has since been followed by four conferences held around Europe. The second conference took place at the Centro per gli studi storici italo-germanici, University of Trent, Italy, in October 2002, under the title ‘Il coste delle nozze/der Preis des Heiratens‘ and organized by professors Silvana Seidel Menchi and Diego Quaglioni. At the closing of this conference the theme of the third conference was agreed to be ‘Less Favored - More Favored: Gender in European Legal History, 12th - 19th Centuries / Benachteiligt - begünstigt: Geschlecht in der Europäischen Rechtsgeschichte, 12. - 19. Jahrhundert.’ This conference took place at the Royal Library, Copenhagen, in September 2004 and was organized by dr. phil. Grethe Jacobsen, professor Inger Dübeck and (then) Ph.D. candidate Helle Vogt. The fourth conference, at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno, Crete, in September 2006, had as its theme ‘Gender, family and property in legal theory and practice: The European perspective from the 10th to the 20th century’ and was organized by professor Aglaia Kasdagli.

At the conclusion of this conference the themes for the fifth conference was decided to be 1) Gender constructions in non-juridical discourses and their impact on jurisprudence and jurisdiction; 2) Comparing legal cultures: Differences and similarities, concepts and methods; and 3) Gendered legal cultures in global perspective: Encounters and conflicts, transfers and interactions. The fifth conference was held in Frankfurt and organized by Dr. Karin Gottschalk, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It had as its title ‘New Perspectives on Gender and Legal History: European Traditions and the Challenge of Global History’.

The network has its roots in the current flowering, often gendered, research in European Legal history, found in several European countries. The organizers of the conference have been especially committed to bring together young scholars and established scholars from all areas of Europe in the hope that it will inspire them to include a gendered perspective in their research and also situating their work in a broad European context. The search for common traits across chronological and geographical borders will also reveal which local features are unique and therefore of general interest. As can be seen from the places where the conferences have been held, the network has moved across Europe and away from Western Europe, which traditionally has been the focus for much legal history. The papers from the conferences has covered topics in European legal history ranging in time form the Early Middle Ages to the 20th century, and geographically from Iceland to Turkey. A few papers have dealt with Baltic and Eastern European legal history. However, much more awareness of this research is needed and the organizers expect that by placing the next conference in Budapest we will attract papers as well as scholars dealing with these topics

How did we miss this?

NOTICE: Colonies and Postcolonies of Law Conference (18 March 2011)

I just received information on the following:

History Department, Princeton University Friday, March 18th 2011

The conference addresses the centrality of law in the construction of colonial rule. We aim to examine how colonial law emerged as colonialists interacted with diverse populations in the colonies. The study of the relationship between law and colonialism has taken two broad trajectories.

On one hand, scholars have highlighted how law provided the instruments for the creation of the colonial state, allowing it to exercise a vast amount of power in restructuring the colony. Conversely, law opened up avenues of resistance for colonized populations. This conference aims to go beyond this dichotomy by focusing on law as a site of constant negotiation which produced new forms of bureaucracy and documentation practices. As colonial legal systems cast long shadows and formed the bedrock of the national legal systems today, this conference will also examine how these colonial legal regimes influence postcolonial nations. The last few years has seen a growth of interest in colonial legal history to which this conference hopes to contribute by bringing junior scholars together in conversation.

NYU Professor of History Lauren Benton will deliver a keynote address at the conference.

Sub themes

Defining Legality: Criminals, Outlaws and Rebels - New categories of legality emerged during the colonial period such that criminals and rebels became interchangeable notions. What makes a ‘rebel’ and a ‘criminal’? What counts as evidence of a crime? How were penal regimes created? How did colonial regimes contribute to the construction of the international laws of war and human rights?

Competing Legitimacies: Religious Law and Colonial Authority - The colonial state grappled with existing legal systems in the colony. Some systems were delegitimized while others were bolstered under the purview of colonial rule. By privileging certain forms of legitimacy, colonial states challenged traditional norms and institutions such as customary rights and religious laws. Why were certain legal systems granted legitimacy under the colonial rule? How did certain religious texts and figures emerge as more authoritative than others? How did the process of translation change understandings of key religious concepts? What forms of tensions were created between traditional authorities and the emerging modern legal profession in the colony?

Private Lives and Public Law - The modern colonial state crafted new boundaries between the public and private. For example, colonial projects of social reform transformed marital and kinship relations. How did the colonial legal regime come to delineate the private and the public sphere? How did colonized populations engage with this process of delineation? How did the changing legal order affect colonial subjects, in particular women, who often emerged as the sites for legal reform? Did postcolonial nations adopt colonial legal conceptions of the private and public spheres?

Constructing Borders - Colonial law demanded certainty of boundaries and jurisdiction, yet it operated within a plural legal order and had limited capacity to police frontiers. How were legal borders fixed? How did colonial populations choose between competing forums granted by neighboring jurisdictions? How did the emergence of the postcolonial nations complicate colonial mapping and jurisdictional jostling?

Law and Capital - The centrality of trade and capital to the colonial project is increasingly overshadowed by cultural and social histories. Law, in the form of land revenue, forest laws and mercantile regulations, was in fact, central to the economic project of the colonial state. Can law be used to bring economic histories in conversation with the social and cultural? What economic practices came to be legitimized with the colonial reordering of the economy? How did colonial law engage with older kinship based mercantile networks such as those of the Arabs, Chinese, Parsis and Marwaris?

Paper proposals should include a title, a 350-word abstract, institutional affiliation and contact information. Please submit proposals to by December 15th 2010.

Organizers: Nurfadzilah Yahaya and Rohit De, History Department, Princeton University

NOTICE: Rose on Legal History as an Academic Discipline

Jonathan Rose's 'Studying the Past: The Nature and Development of Legal History as an Academic Discipline' is now available on SSRN:

This paper pursues two themes. First, it argues that there is a commonality between the general interest in the past, the interest of historians, and interest of legal historians. Second, it shows that several ideas about the past commonly appear in all three contexts. In pursuing this themes, the paper begins by reviewing the initial study of past and the emergence of history and legal history in academia. It explores the various reasons that the early historians and later academic historians and legal historians studied the past and the different ways in which they used it. The paper then pursues in more detail the development of Anglo-American legal history as a scholarly tradition. It identifies three types of academic legal history: classical, liberal, and critical and discusses their natures and different uses of the past. Finally, the paper explores the substantial legal history scholarship and its relevance to scholars who are not legal historians. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of studying the legal past.

30 October 2010

NOTICE: Irish Legal History Society Autumn Discourse

The Irish Legal History Society has announced details for its Autumn Discourse 2010

Irish Legal History Society logo

Mr Myles Dungan will deliver a paper entitled: “Ruffian Print: United Ireland, Censorship and Jury Packing 1881-1883”.

Conspiracy: Irish Political TrialsMr Dungan is an Irish broadcaster who has presented a number of RTE television and radio programmes. He is also a former Fulbright Fellow and the author of a number of history books, most recently Conspiracy: Irish Political Trials, published in 2009 by the Royal Irish Academy.
Proceedings commence on Friday 12th November 2010 at 5.00 p.m. Tea and coffee will be available from 4.30 p.m.

Venue: The National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
Further details about the Irish Legal History Society can be found at

22 October 2010

NOTICE: The Irish Legal History Bursary

Funding is available from the Irish Legal History Society for postgraduate students engaged in researching any aspect of Irish legal history.

Irish Legal History Society logo

The Irish Legal History Society was established in 1989 to advance knowledge of the history of Irish law, especially by the publication of original documents and scholarly works relating to the history of Irish law, including its institutions, doctrines and personalities, and the reprinting or editing of works of sufficient rarity or importance.

Murder Trials in Ireland, 1836-1914Up to €1,000 is available annually to subsidise the travelling expenses of postgraduate students undertaking research into Irish legal history.

Applications are now invited for the 2011 Bursary. The closing date for applications for the new round is 30 January 2011. Applicants should download the application form from the Society’s website,

Queries about the Bursary should be directed to Dr. Níamh Howlin ( or Dr. Thomas Mohr (

Full details on eligibility for the Bursary, as well as about the Irish Legal History Society and an online membership form, are available at

13 October 2010

NOTICE: New Books From Ashgate Publishing

Christine Corcos of the Law and Humanities Blog recently posted a list of 'new books available or due out soon from Ashgate Publishing'. As the books were also historical, I thought they post them here as well:
  • Cathrine O. Frank, Law, Literature, and the Transmission of Culture in England, 1837-1925 (2010)
  • Christopher Frank, Master and Servant Law: Chartists, Trade Unions, Radical Lawyers and the Magistracy in England, 1840-1865 (2010)
  • Kelly Hager, Dickens and the Rise of Divorce: The Failed Marriage Plot and the Novel Tradition (2010)Henry Ansgar Kelly, Law and Religion in Chaucer's England (2010) (Variorum Collected Studies Series; CS957)
  • Dennis R. Klinck, Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern England (2010)
  • Bridget M. Marshall, The Transatlantic Gothic Novel and the Law, 1790-1860 (January 2011)

07 October 2010

Conference Southern African Society of Legal Historians, 17-20 January Stellenbosch

As previously announced the Southern African Society of Legal Historians will hold its Conference in tandem with the Conference of the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa (SLTSA) from 17 to 20 January 2011 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We would like to thank all our colleagues who have expressed an interest in participating in the conference and have sent us their abstracts.

Should you wish to attend the conference, please register for the SLTSA conference which would automatically register you for both conferences. Please send us an e-mail confirming that you have registered to attend the SLTSA Conference and that you are a delegate for the SA Society of Legal Historians Conference.

To register, please visit the website of the Faculty of Law, University of Stellenbosch at , click on the “SLTSA Conference 2011” link and follow the given instructions. The standard registration fee is payable before 1 November 2010 and the late registration fee is payable before 1 December 2010.

Please book accommodation as soon as possible. Kindly note that University residences will not be available on account of the arrival of the first year students on 21 January 2011. However, there are a number of guest houses and hotels in Stellenbosch.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact:
Polina Finney
Secretary and Treasurer
Southern African Society of Legal Historians

Tel: +27 12 429 8408
Fax: +27 12 429 8587
Mobile:+ 27 76 550 6438

30 September 2010

NOTICE: Hatzimihail on Barolus and the Conflict of Laws

The Legal History Blog just posted the following on one of our own:

'Bartolus and the Conflict of Laws' is a recent article by Nikitas Hatzimihail, University of Cyprus - Department of Law; Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). It was published in the Revue Hellenique de Droit International (2007). The abstract ends in mid-sentence, unfortunately, but I am posting as is. For more, please download the article:

The treatment of issues pertaining to the personal and territorial reach of local statutes by Italian jurist Bartolus of Sassoferrato (1314-1357) has been widely regarded as foundational to the conflict of laws. This article presents a detailed examination of the Bartolan text and places it in historical and political context. It also establishes a working text and improves on previous English translations.

The article approaches Bartolan thought from two angles. It considers the principal notions in modern doctrinal literature regarding Bartolan and medieval conflict of laws (was Bartolus a unilateralist? did he think in terms of territoriality or personality, form/substance, party autonomy or decisional harmony?). Bartolan doctrine is also examined in terms of structure, systematicity. The legal and political environment of his time: the role of the ius commune and the quest for...

24 September 2010


5–11 August 2012

Call for Papers

The Fourteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law will be held 5–11 August, 2012, at Saint Michael's College in the University of Toronto, Canada. The program committee invites proposals for papers in any area of Medieval Canon Law, including the following:

Sources and Texts
Canonical Doctrine
Institutions, Legislation, Procedures
Application and Influence
Law, Theology and the Schools

Please include the following information with your proposal:

Your Name and title (Ms./Mr., Dr., Prof., etc)
Your institutional affiliation
The title of your proposed paper
A brief (one paragraph) summary of the proposed paper
Your email address
Your postal address

In addition to individual papers, the program committee will also entertain proposals for special sessions (3 papers) and panel discussions on a particular topic.

The deadline for proposals is August 15, 2011. Proposals (in a PDF file, or in Word or WordPerfect format) should be sent as an email attachments to Those unable to send proposals as email attachments may send a hard copy to:

Joe Goering
Department of History
University of Toronto
100 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3G3

NOTICE: Journal of European History of Law

The European Society for the History of Law has announced the publication of the first volume of its Journal on European History of Law.

Articles include:
  • Foundation of „The European Society for History of Law“
  • Entstehung der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft „The European Society for History of Law“
  • Christian Neschwara: Franz von Zeiller und das Strafrecht
  • Gábor Hamza: Das römische Recht und die Privatrechtsentwicklung in Ungarn im Mittelalter
  • Balázs Pálvölgyi: Hungarian views on the French proposal to the planned international accord concerning the crimes of political terrorism (1934)
  • Stanislav Balík: Brief History of the Constitutional Court of the Czech and Czechoslovak Republic and its role in upholding the rule of law
  • Kai Müller: Die Einheit von Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik in der Ära Honecker. Anspruch, Realität, Scheitern
  • Jaromír Tauchen: „Beneš-Dekrete“ von einer rechtlich historischen Perspektive
  • Martin Bermeiser: Die Tschechoslowakei zwischen 1945 und der Mitte der 1960er aus einem deutschen Blickwinkel
  • Karel Schelle: Zu den Anfängen der tschechoslowakisch-polnischen Beziehungen
  • Vilém Knoll: Legal personality of natural persons in the Czech medieval private law Brief Summary
  • Jiří Bílý: The legal position of the Dalmatian merchants in medieval Lübeck
  • Renata Veselá: Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren und die Änderungen im Familienrecht
  • Miroslav Frýdek: Terminology of Roman Criminal Law – crimen et delictum
  • Lucie Bendová Bednářová: The Crime of the Forced Abortion (The culpability of foeticide in the first quarter of twentieth century)
Note that there are also book reviews and 'Reports from the History of Law'

03 September 2010

NOTICE: Chair in Civil Law and Comparative Legal History (University of Tübingen )

The University of Tübingen is advertising for a chair in civil law and comparative legal history. The notice reads as follows:

Professur W 3 für Bürgerliches Recht und Vergleichende Rechtsgeschichte

Juristische Fakultät
An der Juristischen Fakultät der Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen ist die

Professur W 3 für Bürgerliches Recht und Vergleichende Rechtsgeschichte

zum 1. Oktober 2011 zu besetzen.

Habilitation oder gleichwertige wissenschaftliche Leistungen sowie didaktische Eignung werden vorausgesetzt. Die Universität Tübingen strebt eine Erhöhung des Anteils von Frauen in Forschung und Lehre an und bittet deshalb entsprechend qualifizierte Wissenschaftlerinnen nachdrücklich um ihre Bewerbung.

Schwerbehinderte Bewerberinnen und Bewerber werden bei gleicher Eignung bevorzugt berücksichtigt.

Bewerbungen mit den üblichen Unterlagen werden bis zum 11. Oktober 2010 erbeten an den Dekan der Juristischen Fakultät, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, 72074 Tübingen.

24 August 2010


International Conference organised by the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (Cegesoma, Brussels), IRHIS (Université de Lille 3), CHDJ (Université catholique de Louvain) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

3-day conference, in English and French, to be held in Brussels, in September 2011

Organising Committee : D. Luyten (Cegesoma), S. Faber (VUAmsterdam), H. Leuwers (Lille3), X. Rousseaux (UCL), M. De Koster (UCL/UGent/VUAmsterdam)

With the support of the Interuniversity Attraction Pole “Justice & Society: Socio-political History of Justice Administration in Belgium, 1795-2005” (Belgian Science Policy)

War and revolutions generate transformations of judicial institutions and practices, and bring about shifts in the occupation of positions within different sections of the judicial system, which then often undergoes expansion. These transformations can either have lasting effects or only be temporary, in which case the former judicial system is restored. Such restauration can be complete, but often the phase of war and occupation will remain to have an impact, because certain changes are consolidated, because it is no longer possible to simply restore the previous situation, or because new elements are embedded into the former system. War and revolutions are times and contexts of exception, that bring about exceptional measures, or in other words: fundamental innovations. These innovations can be import products from other countries or judicial systems, or can spring from doctrines and ideologies that differ drastically from, or even inverse formerly prevailing ideas and values, in which case the question arises to what extent innovation was merely a discursive shift.

This introductory sketch of the subject brings us to the following subthemes, which will structure the conference:

1) Changes in the judicial system: The focus here is not that much on legal changes, but rather on innovations reflecting fundamental shifts in the concept and system of justice, and that have been imported from other systems, states or ideologies. Central points of attention are the degree of innovation, the process of transfer and circulation of models and ideas, and the actors shaping and steering this process. One might consider, for example, nationalization measures in Eastern Europe and the appearance of various forms of patrimonial and fiscal sanctions, which have recently been the object of a growing body of research. Wars and revolutions also generate entirely new problems, that are impossible or very difficult to solve with the ‘normal’ judicial instruments and instead demand original solutions that, then, appear as ‘strange’ or external to the initial justice system. Within the context of this conference, particular attention needs to be paid to the heritage of the French Revolution.

2) Changes in practices: Here, the different institutional bodies making up the judicial world and their actual practices are at the centre of the attention. Did revolutions and wars bring about structural changes in the organisation and functioning of the courts, the penitentiary sector and crime control agencies? Or did other institutions or organs take on tasks that under normal conditions are executed by the justice system? On the other hand, questions should also concern the subjects and clients of the different judicial bodies: how did the context of judicial crisis and change alter their interactions with the justice system? This point refers to the blurring of boundaries between traditional categories of tolerable/intolerable, legal/illegal and good/bad behaviour at times of occupation and war, but also to possibly different uses of justice by civilians in such contexts.

3) Changes in judicial personnel and judicial professions: here the question is raised whether or not wars and revolutions brought about significant lasting changes in the personnel structure of the justice system and in the occupational position of the actors of justice (magistrates, lawyers, ministers of Justice, police forces, pentitentiary personnel, etc.). Which changes were aspired (political-ideological, legal doctrines, democratization, gender-dvision…), and which were actually translated into practice? Which mechanisms were activated en which were the central dynamics of the process of change? Here, the question of ‘purification’ initiatives and mechanisms, for example, deserves particular attention.

In terms of geographical focus, the whole of Europe is taken into consideration; papers on Eastern or Mediterranean Europe are particularly welcome. All judicial domains can be treated, but priority is given to the civil law domain (f.e. property law, civil law policy) on the one hand, and to penal law, the criminal justice sytem and all directly related and interdependent fields of justice (fiscal law, juvenile justice system, etc.) on the other. As time frames, the periods from 1795 to 1815, from 1914 to 1920, and from 1939 to 1950 have been chosen.

We hope that this project will meet with a wide response and will stimulate a lively debate.

Proposals for papers (maximum 500 words, accompanied by a short CV) are to be sent before 15 December 2010, via e-mail to &

The proceedings of the conference will be published.


I'm pleased to post the call for papers for the XVIIth European Forum of Young Legal Historians:

The international graduate and post-graduate conference ‘European Traditions: Integration or Disintegration?’ of the European Association of Young Legal Historians will take place at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, from 13-16 April 2011, Wednesday-Saturday (

The European Forum of Young Legal Historians has grown into the leading conference for young researchers in legal history in Europe and the world. Maastricht University, a truly international university at the heart of Europe, and currently celebrating its VIIth Lustrum provides the perfect location for the XVIIth Forum.

European legal traditions have always known centralising and de-centralising forces: Justinian’s Corpus iuris, the Medieval ius commune of Roman and Canon law, the usus modernus pandectarum, the current European harmonisation efforts all have an integrative character to a certain extent. Simultaneously the ius proprium, as in customary law, including the English Common law, as well as, most particularly, the national codifications of the 19th century, and the study of these laws, demonstrates the diversity of European legal traditions.

We are interested in papers and posters addressing these often contrasting developments, including their religious, philosophical, political, social or economic background. Interdisciplinary and comparative approaches are therefore most welcome.

You are strongly encouraged to give your presentation in English, as it is the current European lingua franca; French and German are also accepted, but be aware that this will reduce your audience.

Apart from the regular presentations, we will again have a ‘poster session’ or ‘poster walk’ during one of the afternoons: in several rounds you will be able to present and discuss your poster with various small groups of interested participants. Particularly PhD-candidates just starting with their research are encouraged to submit a poster outline, since the poster session will be a wonderful opportunity to obtain feedback on your project at an early stage.

Submissions with a close connection to the theme are preferred, though traditional legal history subjects are also welcome, especially in respect of the poster session.

Regular participation fee will be € 100; participants giving a paper or presenting a poster pay € 75.

Please send your application (an abstract of max. 500 words and/or an outline of a poster and a short academic CV) to

Deadline: 1 November 2010

Further information on the Association of Young Legal Historians and past Forums is available on  

We look forward to your application and to welcoming you in Maastricht in Spring 2011.

Emanuel van Dongen, Hester van der Kaaij, Mariken Lenaerts, Tanja van der Meer, Fé van Noortwijk, Janwillem Oosterhuis, Serban Vacarelu, Stefan Weishaar

Maastricht University
Department of Foundations and Methods of Law
Bouillonstraat 1-3, 6211 LH Maastricht
P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
The Netherlands

22 August 2010

NOTICE: The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula

I'm delighted to announce the publication of The creation of the ius commune: from casus to regula. Edited by Professors John Cairns and Paul Du Plessis, both of Edinburgh University, it

discusses in detail how medieval scholars reacted to the casuistic discussions in the inherited Roman texts, particularly the Digest of Justinian. It shows how they developed medieval Roman law into a system of rules that formed a universal common law for Western Europe. Because there has been little research published in English beyond grand narratives on the history of law in Europe, this book fills an important gap in the literature.

With a focus on how the medieval Roman lawyers systematised the Roman sources through detailed discussions of specific areas of law, it considers:

•the sources of medieval law and how to access them
•the development from cases to rules
•medieval lawyers’ strategies for citing each other and their significance
•growth of a conceptual approach to the study of law

With contributions from leading international scholars in the field, this book therefore fills an important gap in the literature.

The contents include:
Introduction: Themes and Context (Cairns and Du Plessis)
1. An Introduction to the Interpretation of Legal Technicalities (Bezemer);
2. The Citation and the Ius Commune (Helmholz);
3. Medieval Family Law (Waelkens);
4. Legal Reasoning in Contract and Delict (Gordley);
5. The Buyer’s Remedy for Latent Defects (Hallebeek);
6. Commercial Law (Ernst);
7. The Law of Unjustified Enrichment (Schrage/Dondorp);
8. The Law of Succession (Ryan);
9. The Roman Law of Property and the Reality of the Middle Ages (Rüfner);
10. Fault-lines between contract and property in the medieval law of pledge (Du Plessis);11. Malicious litigation and the rise of the legal profession (Brundage).

For additional information see the Edinburgh Studies in Law site or

17 August 2010


Participants are being sought for a collection on Western legal hybridity.

Western legal histories are often little more than whiggish genealogies of contemporary common laws told at the expense of the legal pluralism of the past. But the creation of general national laws, a legal ‘system’ centred on the state, was a very long historical process; the elimination of competing jurisdictions and the marginalisation of other, non-state normative orders took centuries.

For much of the history of the West, there were multiple contemporaneous legal orders—customary, local, learned, common—co-existing in the same geographical space and at the same time. Indeed, this plurality of laws blurred seamlessly into the less formally institutionalised, but meaningful, normative pluralism from which more formal legal rules often emerged and with which they would continue to compete. Before the nineteenth century, the boundaries between such official and unofficial ‘legalities’ were especially porous.

The volume will examine Western jural complexity from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. Participants will contribute historical case studies combining both legal and normative hybridity, the ‘living law’ of the past. As a whole, it may shed new light on the expansion of the nation-state and common national laws as well as on attendant developments in legal nationalism, monism, centralism, and positivism.

Given the focus of the volume, we are especially interested in those familiar with comparative law, contemporary theories of interpretation, or historical anthropology, geography, and sociology.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Seán Patrick Donlan ( or Dirk Heirbaut (

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS: Comparative Legal Theory Project

Participants are being sought for a collaborative and comparative project in legal theory.

The Comparative Legal Theory project aims to place legal theory in its social, historical, and comparative context. Our goal is to produce jurisdictional reports on legal theory on the basis of a questionnaire prepared by the project organisers and through ongoing collaborative workshops.

A roundtable on the project will be held in Catania on Friday, 29 October 2010. Participants will be able to assist in creating the questionnaire to be used and to identify potential reporters.

The project managers are Seán Patrick Donlan (Limerick), Margaret Martin (Western Ontario), and Alessio Lo Giudice (Catania). Please email for additional information.

Please feel free to circulate this message to other individuals, institutions, blogs, etc.

14 July 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: Law, Order and Individual Rights – Theory, Intent and Practice conference (Lyon, 8-10 September 2011)

A SOLON-related call for papers has been issued for the following (very interesting) conference:

in association with the Université Lyon Lumière

Crime, Violence and the Modern State III
Law, Order and Individual Rights –
Theory, Intent and Practice

September 8-10 2011

The third conference in this series will explore comparative, historical and transnational perspectives on crime and violence through a focus on Law, Order and Individual Rights, aiming to contextualise the concepts of individual or ‘human’ rights in the modern state utilising a range of interdisciplinary methodologies, but with a particular interest in promoting the historical dimension. We invite papers that, for example, seek to:

 explore state agendas and the use of law to define ‘deviance’ etc
 explore the changing comprehensions of an ‘orderly’ society, across chronological and territorial boundaries
 map differences, interconnections and movements through space and time.
 explore the differentiated social, cultural or political meanings of violent or criminal acts and ways in which violence is legitimised (or not) by states
 explore the impact of gender, race/ethnicity and other forms of social identification/exclusion
 religion, blasphemy and heresy, and other moral challenges to state authority
 the role of moral panics and other tools for voluntary or involuntary social control
 the management of crime and violence by the state, particularly reflecting on responses by individuals.

In line with the previous two conferences (Crete, 2007, University of Rethymno; St Petersburg, 2009, Herzen State University) the impact of social imaginaries of cultural identity, as well as conceptualisations of nations and empires, will be important considerations. We will also pay particular attention to comparative national or regional dimensions, and papers exploring the extent to which the actions of the modern state may clash with traditional cultural perceptions of deviance and violence in different communities will be of particular interest

Please send proposals to by 29 October 2010. Please send any enquiries to Judith Rowbotham (, David Nash ( or Neil Davie (

13 July 2010


The European Society for Comparative Legal History is pleased to announce that it is now accepting membership applications.

Annual fees are €50 for professionals and €25 for students (including doctoral students).

In addition to being able to vote in future ESCLH elections, members will receive a waiver of conference fees in years in which the official conference is held. In addition, we are negotiating for additional benefits of membership. Individuals accepted for membership before 1 November 2010, for example, will receive Kjell Å Modéer and Per Nilsén (eds), Teaching comparative and European legal history (forthcoming, October 2010).

To apply for membership, see the link on the ESCLH blog.

12 July 2010

NOTICE: International School of Ius Commune (Erice, Sicily; 8-14 October 2010)

I just received the following information on this year's International School of Ius Commune to be held in Erice in October:

Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture
International School of Ius Commune
Direttori della Scuola: M. Bellomo – K. Pennington – O. Condorelli
XXX Corso, Erice, 8-14 ottobre 2010

History of dogmata iuris - dogmata iuris in the History

Direttore del XXX Corso
Manlio Bellomo (Catania)

Sponsored by: The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research - Sicilian Regional Government - Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. - University of Catania –Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Imola


At the center of attention for this year’s School is the problem of the possibility and utility of thinking and writing a history of private law using specific terms. Such a history would focus on individual legal concepts and principles (figurae) as dominium and obligatio and on the history of a sistema iuris within which the variae causarum figurae are placed within a chronological framework and within the legal systems of Europe and beyond.

From this point of view the investigation and consideration of the dogmata iuris (or figurae) ought to be placed in their historical context. However, dogmata iuris are abstract by their nature. For example, the glossators thought of them ontologically as endowed with a unchangeable and thus eternal nature. They spoke therefore of natura contractus, natura dominii etc. Since the dogmata iuris are abstract, legal historians have encountered and continue to confront grave difficulties in placing them in their historical context and in utilizing them as a signpost of an ideal value and of a variable social and political reality in time and space.

The existence of this difficulty has led to many attempts by legal historians to explore this problem, especially in the civil law world. An analysis of these efforts has stimulated some legal historians to outline adequate historiographical profiles of the dogmata iuris to give a framework within which scholars may locate their work when they explore this problem more deeply. In brief, along side the dogmata iuris as a witness and mirror of the history of circumscribed and determined times and places (dogmata iuris in history or with the expressive German phrase Dogmengeschichte), one may see a series of attempts undertaken to resolve the problem of the dogmata iuris in history (history of historiography, or to use the German word Rechtsgeschichtsschreibung). The organizers of the course propose two points of view that point to one common objective that is properly and exclusively the goal of legal history: to understand history in terms of law and jurisprudence.

In particular the Course proposes to explore if the dogmata iuris and what is written about them can indicate which was (and which can be, in the present or in the future) the level of culture of the people who have conceived and have utilized dogmata iuris as a guide, or have forgotten them, or have rejected them with distructive force. Then there is the final question: can a society be considered civil that has rejected, mocked, and smashed all models regulating relationships in society and in the field of law and rights all figurae (or categories or dogmata)?

Al centro dell’attenzione vi è il problema della possibilità e dell’utilità di pensare e di scrivere una storia del diritto privato in termini specifici: come storia di singole figure giuridiche (dominium, obligatio etc.) e come storia di un sistema iuris entro il quale le variae causarum figurae sono state collocate nella successione dei tempi e nella varietà dei territori europei e d’oltre mare. Da questo punto di osservazione e lungo questa linea di indagine e di riflessioni i dogmata iuris (o figurae) devono essere collocati nella storia. Ma i dogmata iuris sono astratti per loro natura. Per primi, i glossatori li pensano, ontologicamente, come dotati di una natura immodificabile, e anzi eterna, e parlano perciò di natura contractus, natura dominii etc. E poiché i dogmata iuris sono astratti, la storiografia ha incontrato e incontra gravi difficoltà a collocarli nella storia, a utilizzarli come documento di valori ideali e di realtà socio-politiche variabili nel tempo e nello spazio. L’esistenza delle difficoltà ha comportato molteplici tentativi degli storici del diritto, soprattutto di area europeo-continentale. L’analisi di tali tentativi ha sollecitato alcuni storici del diritto a tracciare profili storiografici adeguati a dare un quadro di orientamento per ogni successivo approfondimento del problema. In breve, accanto ai dogmata iuris come testimoni e specchio della storia di tempi e di luoghi circoscritti e determinati (dogmata iuris nella storia, o con espressiva parola tedesca Dogmengeschichte), si è formata una storia dei tentativi compiuti per risolvere il problema dei dogmata iuris nella storia (storia della storiografia, o Rechtsgeschichtsschreibung). Si tratta di due punti di vista che mirano a un unico e comune obiettivo, che è proprio ed esclusivo della storiografia giuridica: capire la storia, in uno dei suoi qualificanti aspetti giuridici. In particolare, il Corso si propone di esplorare se i dogmata iuris e quanto si è scritto su di essi possano indicare quale sia stato nel passato, e quale possa essere nel presente e nel futuro, il livello della civiltà dei popoli che, nel succedersi dei tempi, hanno concepito e utilizzato dogmata iuris, o li hanno dimenticati, o avversati con impeto distruttivo. È vi è perciò una domanda finale: può essere considerata civile una società che rifiuta e dileggia e infrange ogni ‘forma’, e nel campo del diritto ogni figura (o categoria, o dogma)?

Topics and Lecturers

Manlio Bellomo (Università di Catania, I)
“Sigismundus dogmate legum fultus”: (I) Per una storia della storiografia in tema di categorie giuridiche; (II) “Irnerius qui fuit ausus dirigere cor suum ad legem istam”. Il problema socio-politico dei “dogmata iuris”

Giovanni Chiodi (Università di Milano “Bicocca”, I)
L’interpretazione del testamento nel diritto comune: nascita e sviluppi di un metodo (I)

Emanuele Conte (Università Roma Tre, I)
Il vassallaggio medievale fra le maglie della scolastica giuridica. Un capitolo della storia del diritto comune in Europa (I)

Alessandro Corbino (Università di Catania, I)
“Iura condere” e “iura constituere” nel pensiero dei giuristi romani (I)

Anne Lefebvre-Teillard (Université Panthéon Assas, Paris, F)
“Ne pater pro filio”: la responsabilité délictuelle personnelle du mineur entre principe et réalité (I); Le droit romano-canonique: droit savant? (II)

Emma Montanos Ferrín (Universidad de La Coruña, E)
Un ejemplo de categoría jurídica pasada del derecho canónico al derecho español: el asesinato (I)

Andrea Padovani (Università di Bologna, I)
“Tenebo hunc ordinem”: metodo e struttura della lezione dei giuristi medievali dalle “Summae” al commento (I, II)

Beatrice Pasciuta (Università di Palermo, I)
Il processo come “sistema” tra ricostruzioni storiografiche ottocentesce e struttura medievale delle fonti (I)

Kenneth Pennington (Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., USA)
Legal Positivism and Natural Law (I)

Hans Schlosser (Universität Augsburg, D)
Die deutsche Rechtsgeschichtsschreibung zwischen Mythos, nationalem Pathos und richtiger methode: (I) Von der Historischen Schule bis zur Krise der Pandektistik Ende XIX. Jahrhundert; (II) Neue Wege nach 1945 (Coing, Wieacker, Thieme), die Methodendiskussion und der heutige Standort.

Alain Wijffels (Université Catholique, Louvain, B)
Early-Modern ius commune: transmitting and renewing old doctrines? (I, II)

For information and applications please write to:

Prof. Orazio Condorelli
Università di Catania
Facoltà di Giurisprudenza
via Gallo 24
I-95124 Catania
tel. 0039-095-230417

I hope to see you there.

REPORT: European Society for Comparative Legal History Conference

Last week's inaugural conference of the European Society for Comparative Legal History was a great success.

Much of this was due to the organisation of the event, on reasonably short notice, by the local organiser and new ESCLH President, Aniceto Masferrer (Valencia). He was also generously supported by the Faculty of Law at the University of Valencia, the Universitas Foundation, the managers of the La Nau Building, and the Instituto de Historia de la Intolerancia. Finally, he was ably supported on the ground by an elite group of students.

On behalf of the ESCLH Executive Council, we'd like to thank the many speakers and participants who attended. Your contributions, both in formal sessions and in informal gatherings, made the conference both enlightening and enjoyable. 

In addition to selecting our first Executive and launching the Western Legal Traditions casebook project, a final Constitution is being completed, a second conference is being planned, a logo will soon be available, and membership has been opened to all those interested in our subject.

More details on these developments will follow soon.

Best wishes to all. We look forward to working together.

Dr Seán Patrick Donlan (Limerick), ESCLH General Secretary

29 June 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS (Reminder): The Twentieth British Legal History Conference (13-16 July 2011)

REMINDER: The Call for Papers for the Twentieth British Legal History Conference has been announced.

The conference:

will be held in Cambridge from Wednesday 13 July 2011 to Saturday 16 July 2011. The conference theme will be 'Law and Legal Process'.

The conference addresses the intersection between law and legal process, the ways in which the processes of courts and other tribunals, the practices of judges and lawyers, and the needs of litigants, influence each other and shape the development of the law; and the influences in turn of legal doctrine upon the practices of those coming into contact with the law.

The conference organisers welcome papers concerning all jurisdictions, branches of the law and historical periods. Ideally, papers should reflect the conference theme. Papers reflecting the results of innovative legal history research are most welcome. Submissions from doctoral students are encouraged.

Proposals for papers (up to 500 words) are invited, to reach the organisers – preferably by email attachment (in Word or pdf format) sent to the address below – by 31 August 2010. If potential contributors are unsure whether their proposals suitably reflect the theme, the organisers are very happy to be contacted informally by email (again to the address below).

A draft programme and details of registration and accommodation will be circulated early in 2011.

Conference email:

Conference Organisers

Professor Sir John Baker
Professor David Ibbetson
Dr Neil Jones
Dr Isabella Alexander
Dr Matt Dyson

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, 10 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DZ, UK

18 June 2010

NOTICE: 2011 Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History - 'The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas'

The 2011 Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History at Chicago's Newberry Library will focus on 'The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas'. It will take place from 9-5 on Friday, 8 April, 2011. The Symposium is organised by Tamar Herzog (Stanford) and Richard J. Ross (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

The description reads:
The struggle to possess and control land, both as property and as jurisdictional territory, was central to the formation of early modern European societies as well as their colonial domains. This conference will look at how Europeans defined the right to land both at home and overseas. We will examine how so-called European expansion influenced the conceptualization of property and territorial jurisdiction and the relationship between them. Conference participants may explore how notions of property and territoriality changed over time; and how colonial needs and the encounter with new cultures reshaped these notions. In what ways did “international competition” and the emergence of an “international law” (to use an anachronism) modify property and jurisdiction? How did economic, social, and political developments influence new ideas and experiences regarding the land? In what ways did these ideas and experiences shape practical strategies for claiming land and asserting rights to govern it and profit from it? We are particularly eager to know whether these encounters encouraged, consciously or not, borrowing between different European legal systems as well as between settlers and indigenous peoples. How was the movement and refashioning of legal knowledge bound up with the movement of peoples and refashioning of modes of control over land? We would like to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation among lawyers, historians, sociologists, geographers, and literary scholars.