29 January 2018

BOOK: Richard J.M. BLACKETT, The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). £ 94.99. ISBN 9781108418713

Cambridge University Press has recently published a book dealing with i.a. slave law in the decade before the American Civil War. The eBook can already be obtained through Cambridge University Press, the paperback and hardback are due to be published in March 2018.


This magisterial study, ten years in the making by one of the field's most distinguished historians, will be the first to explore the impact fugitive slaves had on the politics of the critical decade leading up to the Civil War. Through the close reading of diverse sources ranging from government documents to personal accounts, Richard J. M. Blackett traces the decisions of slaves to escape, the actions of those who assisted them, the many ways black communities responded to the capture of fugitive slaves, and how local laws either buttressed or undermined enforcement of the federal law. Every effort to enforce the law in northern communities produced levels of subversion that generated national debate so much so that, on the eve of secession, many in the South, looking back on the decade, could argue that the law had been effectively subverted by those individuals and states who assisted fleeing slaves.


Part I. The Slave Power Asserts Its Rights:
1. The fugitive slave law
2. The law does its work
3. Compromise and colonize
Part II. Freedom's Fires Burn:
4. Missouri and Illinois
5. Western Kentucky and Indiana
6. Eastern Kentucky and Ohio
7. Southeast Pennsylvania
8. Eastern shore of Maryland and Philadelphia
9. New York
10. Massachusetts

More information on the website of Cambridge University Press 

BOOK: David LYNCH, The Role of Circuit Courts in the Formation of United States Law in the Early Republic - Following Supreme Court Justices Washington, Livingston, Story and Thompson (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2018). $108.00. ISBN 9781509910854

(Source: Hart Publishing)

Hart Publishing is due to publish a book on the role of circuit courts in the formation of US law in the period of the Early Republic next week.


While scholars have rightly focused on the importance of the landmark opinions of the United States Supreme Court and its Chief Justice, John Marshall, in the rise in influence of the Court in the Early Republic, the crucial role of the circuit courts in the development of a uniform system of federal law across the nation has largely been ignored. This book highlights the contribution of four Associate Justices (Washington, Livingston, Story and Thompson) as presiding judges of their respective circuit courts during the Marshall era, in order to establish that in those early years federal law grew from the 'inferior courts' upwards rather than down from the Supreme Court. It does so after a reading of over 1800 mainly circuit opinions and over 2000 original letters, which reveal the sources of law upon which the justices drew and their efforts through correspondence to achieve consistency across the circuits. The documents examined present insights into momentous social, political and economic issues facing the Union and demonstrate how these justices dealt with them on circuit. Particular attention is paid to the different ways in which each justice contributed to the shaping of United States law on circuit and on the Court and in the case of Justices Livingston and Thompson also during their time on the New York State Supreme Court.


1. The Supreme Court Justices and the Circuit Court Experiment 
A Team Effort
Why Washington, Livingston, Story, and Thompson?
2. The Federal Circuit Courts: Shaping Local and National Justice for an Emerging Republic 
The Politics of Federal Law
The Grand Jury Charge: A Bond between Government and Citizen
The Circuit Court Discourse in the Constitutional Ratification and Senate Debates
The Jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Courts
'A Certain Uniformity of Decision in United States Law'
3. Bushrod Washington: The Role of Precedent and the Preservation of Vested Interests 
A Federalist's Journey from Revolutionary Virginia to the Supreme Court
Justice Washington and the Role of Precedent in the Federal Legal System
Property Rights and Commercial Law on Circuit
States' Rights, the War of 1812, and Slavery
4. Henry Brockholst Livingston: Consolidating Mercantile Law 
The Early Years: Political Allegiances: From Federalist to Republican
Commercial Law for New York State
A Republican on a Federalist Supreme Court
Maritime and Commercial Law for the United States
5. Joseph Story: Admiralty Expertise and the Importation of Common Law 
A Modernising Influence on Law and Procedure on the First Circuit
Admiralty and the Enforcement of Embargo Laws
Consistency Through the Sharing of Expertise
The Supremacy of Federal Law
The Protection of Minority Groups
Importing Common Law into the Federal Legal System
6. Justice Smith Thompson: Promoting Commerce, State Sovereignty and the Protection of the Cherokee Nation 
State Supreme Court: Statutory Interpretation and New York 'Hard Law'
Contractual Obligations on the Second Circuit and on the Court
'What is to be Left to the States?'
The Cherokee Nation and the African-American Slave

More information on the website of Hart Publishing.  

26 January 2018

CFP: “Politics and the Histories of International Law” (Heidelberg, 15-16 February 2019), DEADLINE 31 MAY 2018

We have the following Call for Papers for a conference on “Politics and the Histories of International Law” by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.


L’histoire n’est pas une religion. L’historien n’accepte aucun dogme, ne respecte aucun interdit, ne connaît pas de tabous. Il peut être dérangeant. - LIBERTÉ POUR L’HISTOIRE, 2005

Almost all scholarship on international law and its history has political implications. Some say that international legal scholarship is inevitably ideological in nature and that its findings depend on concealed political preferences. Put differently, legal scholarship could be nothing more than the pseudo-objective defence of ruling ideologies. Most famously, Hans Kelsen had denounced a ‘tendency wide-spread among writers on international law’ to produce ‘political ideology’. Kelsen sought to escape this by writing books of a ‘purely juristic character’ (Principles of International Law, 2nd ed. 1967, ix). In his foreword to the commentary on the UN Charter of 1950, he stressed that ‘separation of law from politics in the presentation of national or international problems is possible’ (The Law of the United Nations, 1950, viii).

Many nowadays doubt that purging international legal scholarship of politics would work. In 2004, Martti Koskenniemi put this as follows: ‘The choice is not between law and politics, but between one politics of law, and another. Everything is at stake, but not for everyone’ (EJIL 16 (2005), 123).
So, which factors ‘politicise’ international legal scholarship? The first factor is that the object under investigation is itself a political matter. International law has throughout its history been political, because its content depends on the political power of the parties negotiating the treaties, and because it transports political values.

Scholars themselves cannot completely avoid being more or less political actors, because their value judgements, which are inescapable, often carry political implications. However, an important difference between doing scholarship and doing politics lies in the authors’ main intention: It is, ideal-typically, not the primary purpose of scholarship to make politics and unbounded evaluation but to generate knowledge − which could then be used politically, by the author herself or by others. Along this line, most scholars of history seek to uncover various aspects of past events and debates and to contextualise them, thereby realising a modicum of objectivity and neutrality. Some consciously try to avoid judgment, while others are more prone to judging deliberately and to employing historical insights in contemporary political debates.

Research on the history of international law is not only inherently political but moreover specifically ‘risk-prone’. Writing on topics such as genocide, state of exception, failed states, humanitarian intervention, asymmetrical war, or cyber-attacks is especially liable to being used and abused by participants in political controversies. In fact, when it comes to writing history, the fight over master narratives is especially fierce, among governments, in different academic camps, and between governments and academics. The notorious example are memory laws which consecrate specific views on atrocities of the past (especially genocidal massacres) and which sometimes additionally criminalise the denial of those atrocities. These attempts to close historical debates by law have been criticised by historians, most famously in the petition ‘Liberté pour l‘histoire’ by French historians reacting against various French memory laws.

To conclude, the interpretations of historical events are almost inescapably political, and potentially have the power to shape international relations: ‘On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées’ (Victor Hugo, Histoire d’un crime, 1877/2009, 639). It is against this background that the rights and responsibilities of those researching on the history of international law should be seen.

The JHIL invites scholars to engage with the questions of the role of politics and ideology in the historiographies of international law. We welcome propositions for papers which address methodological questions, as well as case studies or historiographical analyses that focus on certain contentious subjects within the field of international law and its history


  • Date: The conference will last from Friday morning, 15 February to Saturday noon (16 February 2019). It will start with an informal get-together on Thursday evening, 14 February.
  • Venue: Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law, Im Neuenheimer Feld 535, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Scholars who would like to present a paper at the conference are invited to submit a title and abstract (250–500 words) to the managing editor of the JHIL ( before 1 June 2018. Abstracts will be assessed by the editors of the JHIL with involvement of the journal’s Academic Advisory Board. A decision on acceptance of the abstract will be communicated by 1 July 2018.
  • Authors of accepted abstracts will be requested to submit their draft papers by 1 February 2019. The draft will be circulated among participants (authors and admitted engaged listeners).
  • Final versions of the papers will be due by 30 March 2019. Papers will then be submitted to the normal review procedure of the JHIL, online at: editorial
  • See the “Instructions for authors” online at: authors_instructions/JHIL.pdf.
  • The Max Planck Institute will cover the costs of the accommodation of accepted paper presenters (up to three nights) and will offer a needs-based subsidy towards travel costs.
  • An additional call for engaged listeners will be issued shortly.
  • For updated technical information on the conference see publications/periodic-publications/jhil.cfm.

For more information, please visit the website of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

23 January 2018

COLLOQUIUM: “L’histoire de l’édition juridique (XVIe – XXIe s.). Un état des lieux.” (Paris, 25-26 January 2018)

Université Paris Nanterre is organising a colloquium on legal literature between the 16th-21st century later this week


De la naissance de l’imprimerie à la Révolution numérique que nous vivons actuellement, la culture des juristes est avant tout livresque. Et l’on se plaît à reconnaître que le Code civil est sans conteste un point de rupture dans l’histoire de l’édition juridique. Or, si l’histoire de l’édition, du livre et de la lecture demeure un champ de recherche attesté, reconnu et fortement référencé depuis les années 1980, il faut humblement reconnaître que la recherche sur la production imprimée des livres de droit demeure pour beaucoup sous-estimée et peu développée. La prise de conscience pourtant chez les juristes d’un intérêt pour l’enseignement de leur discipline, puis pour ceux d’entre eux qui avaient laissé des traces théoriques comme pratiques, en métropole, dans les colonies, comme à l’étranger, ne pouvait pas négliger un axe essentiel de la transmission de la pensée juridique : l’étude du livre juridique et de son édition par laquelle il acquiert un statut autonome de relais incontournable du droit. Le moment est sans doute venu de réfléchir à un état des lieux de cette question selon les cinq axes des acteurs, des usages, des finalités, des formes et de la circulation de la littérature juridique.

Where and when:

Ce colloque international se déroule du 25 au 26 janvier 2018 à l’Université Paris Nanterre et à l’École Normale Supérieure
Bâtiment B (Pierre Grappin)
25 Janvier, Université Paris Nanterre, Bât B, salle des conférences
26 Janvier, ENS, Campus Jourdan, amphitheatre

The full programme can be found here

For more information, please see the website of Université Paris Nanterre.  

LECTURE SERIES: "Histoire de la pensée juridique moderne" (Paris, 22 February 2018, 6 March 2018, 29 March 2018, 5 April 2018)

The Institut d’Histoire du Droit has announced the following lecture series:

Cycle de conférences d'histoire de la pensée juridique moderne organisé par l'Institut d'Histoire du Droit (EA 2515) de l'Université Paris Descartes et l'École de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne 
Les conférences ont lieu en salle des Actes de la Faculté de droit
10, avenue Pierre Larousse, 92240 Malakoff
Métro ligne 13, station Malakoff - Plateau de VanvesTram T3, station Porte de Vanves 
Sous la direction scientifique du Pr Arnaud VERGNE, directeur de l'Institut d'Histoire du Droit, et du Pr Anne ROUSSELET-PIMONT de l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Programme : 
- Jeudi 22 février 2018 à 11h : M. Boris BERNABÉ, professeur à l'Université Paris-Sud, Probabilisme et art de juger chez Domat 
- Mardi 6 mars 2018 à 14h : M. Vincenzo MANNINO, professeur à l'Università Roma Tre, Modèles alternatifs de la souveraineté dans la Rome antique 
- Jeudi 29 mars 2018 à 14h : M. Martial MATHIEU, professeur à l'Université de Grenoble Alpes, La garantie des droits en Angleterre dans la pensée de Blackstone 
- Jeudi 5 avril 2018 à 14h : M. Grégoire BIGOT, professeur à l'Université de Nantes, Les présupposés au sujet de l'État comme catégorie juridique 

More information can be found on the website of the Institut d’Histoire du Droit.

22 January 2018

CFP: Encounters, Rights, and Sovereignty in the Iberian empires (15th-19th centuries) (Evora, 24-25 May 2018), DEADLINE 10 FEBRUARY 2018

We have the following Call for Papers for a conference on interactions between native and European populations in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires:

The Iberian colonization processes in Asia, Africa and the Americas involved several types of encounters between colonizers and native peoples, as well as rivalries among these and other European colonial powers. These encounters often took the shape of conflicts and confrontations, but they also often happened amidst dynamics of negotiation and accommodation. The Portuguese and the Castilian crowns both tried to regulate these encounters and relationships. Among the many strategies they used was the development of legal norms, partially aimed at assuring some kind of rights to native populations and to the colonial populations that gradually evolved in many different ways (the rights to live, to physical integrity, to land, gender rights, trading rights, citizenship rights, etc.). The implementation, reception, negotiation and everyday use of these norms shaped the way colonial societies developed and defined their own identities. But they also had an impact on the type and extension of sovereignty that each of the Iberian empires was able to built-up in their colonial territories.

Although these topics have already attracted considerable attention from historical scholarship, both Iberian empires are seldom jointly considered and compared. Hence, this conference privileges an approach that takes into account the comparisons, in time and in space, and interactions between the Portuguese and Spanish colonizing dynamics, in a timeframe spanning from the early stages of the Iberian colonization to the first outbreaks of independence. Some of the questions we aim to address in this conference are: How did the Iberian monarchies conceive, if they did so, the rights of native populations in their decision-making processes and in their juridical architecture? With what tools and with what objectives did the Iberian crowns regulate the encounters and relations between native and European populations? How did colonial encounters influence the political, theological and cultural discussion on the rights of peoples, on the rights of ‘others’, and even on human rights? How did these relations influence the gradual definition of borders and frontiers in colonial territories? How did colonial institutions and legal regulations relate with the political and economic objectives of both empire-building processes? How did politics, economy and religion intersect in these processes, and how did it affect the contact with native populations and the development of colonial societies? What contacts, transfers and influences took place between the Portuguese and Castilian imperial agents and institutions? How did information circulate from one empire to the other, and how did this information influence the conception of the ‘other’ in both imperial environments? What mechanisms of communication were at work between metropolitan and colonial powers regarding the management of these interactions?

Hence, focusing on the interactions between native and European populations, this conference welcomes panel and paper proposals on topics such as:

§  Colonization models and empire-building strategies;
§  Representations of native populations;
§  Race relations and debates on race;
§  Juridical regulations of colonial interactions;
§  Colonial origins of human rights;
§  Integration/ exclusion of native populations within colonial societies;
§  Missionaries as political and cultural brokers;
§  Active and passive dynamics of resistance;
§  Political communication and circulation of information;
§  Trade and commercial interactions;
§  Portuguese and Spanish written cultures regarding colonial endeavours;
§  Scales of power: centres versus peripheries;
§  Violence and justice;
§  Borders and frontiers.

Keynote Speaker
Professor António Manuel Hespanha
(Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Deadline for the submission of panel and paper proposals:       10 February 2018
Communication of accepted panels and papers:                         20 February 2018
Registration deadline:                                                                  31 March 2018
Deadline for pre-circulation of papers (2,000-10,000 words):    10 May 2018 

A selection of papers will be published in an edited volume.
Deadline for revised manuscript submission:                             15 September 2018

Proposals submission – instructions:
1. Register on – after registering you will receive a confirmation email to activate your registration.
3. Select the option “Register” on the right (this is a pre-registration only to allow you to submit your proposal; you can confirm your registration on a later stage, after the acceptance of your proposal).
4. Select “Submit abstract” on the right.

Panel and paper proposals are accepted in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
Paper proposals should include contact details, title, and abstract (c. 300 words).
Panel proposals should include 3 or 4 papers, titles and abstracts (c. 600 words).

Registration Fees
Full Registration (includes 2 lunches + 1 dinner): 60,00 €
Simple Registration (with no meals): 20,00 €
Attendee only (with certificate): 10,00 €
Students of the University of Évora: free

Scientific Committee:
Graça Almeida Borges, CIDEHUS, University of Évora
Mafalda Soares da Cunha, CIDEHUS, University of Évora
José Vicente Serrão, CIES, ISCTE-IUL
Pedro Cardim, CHAM, FCSH-UNL

Organizing Committee:
Graça Almeida Borges (Chair), CIDEHUS, University of Évora
Bruno Lopes, CIDEHUS, University of Évora
Leonor Garcia, CIDEHUS, University of Évora         

For enquiries, please contact us 

For more information, see the website of the University of Évora

Book: Gunnar Folke SCHUPPERT, The World of Rules. A Somewhat Different Measurement of the World [Global Perspectives on Legal History, 10] (Frankfurt am Main: MPIER, 2018), XIV + 364 p. ISBN 978-3-944773-09-4, € 18,17

(image source: MPIER)

With »The World of Rules. A Somewhat Different Measurement of the World« by Gunnar
Folke Schuppert, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History presents a new
publication in its book series »Global Perspectives on Legal History«.

Gunnar Folke Schuppert
The World of Rules
A Somewhat Different Measurement of the World
Global Perspectives on Legal History 10
Frankfurt am Main: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History 2017, 378 p.,
ISBN: 978-3-944773-09-4
Open Access Online Edition:

This book takes a stand against the narrowing focus of (German) jurisprudence on state law, rooted in the history of the territorially organised nation state. In the shadow of this tradition, state(-hood) law was only conceived of as state law. However, a gradual decoupling of state and law is observable – not least because of globalisation – which inevitably entails a pluralisation of legal regulations. Jurisprudence has to react to this, if it wants to remain relevant. This can happen through a broadening of its horizon towards a more far-reaching “science of regulation”, in order to grasp the increasing “Variety of Rules” adequately. State law remains an important and central type of law, yet it is no longer the sole type.

If that is the case, it becomes necessary to analyse the following three spheres:
(1) the plurality of normative orders, especially those of non-state character;
(2) the plurality of norm producers, from state legislature to transnational networks of regulation;
(3) finally, the plurality of norm enforcement regimes, from states’ judiciaries via the judiciary of
(international) sport to the exercise of social pressure (e. g. political correctness).

Those findings of plurality inevitably lead to the follow-up problem of a redefinition of the concept
of law and to the question, which types of law/norms can be identified meaningfully.

The book can be downloaded in fulltext here.

JOB: Professor in Legal History (Universität Zürich, Switzerland), DEADLINE 14 MARCH 2018

The University of Zurich has posted a job opening for a professorship in legal history, to succeed Professor Marcel Senn:

The holder of the professorship will represent the academic discipline of Legal History (broadly conceived). The successful candidate will contribute to the delivery of high quality teaching on undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, and to engage in world-leading and internationally recognised research. A published research record of international distinction within the field of legal history is required. This will be demonstrated by an outstanding doctoral thesis and a habilitation thesis or equivalent research publications. Ideally, the research focus should be on early modern and/or modern European Legal History, with possible topics including Swiss, comparative or global legal history. Scholarly experience in a doctrinal legal discipline is not strictly required but highly appreciated. For applicants without a background in Swiss Law, a willingness to become familiar with it is expected. 
The successful candidate will be expected to be an active contributor to the wider academic community through journal editorships, appointments to research councils and other public bodies, leadership of professional organisations, and fostering links with institutions beyond higher education.  Depending on the candidate’s qualification aa full or extraordinary professorship could be awarded. For candidates who are still engaged in a habilitation project, an appointment as assistant professor with tenure track cis an option. the University of Zurich explicitly invites duly qualified junior researchers to submit their application. 
As the University of Zurich aims to increase the percentage of women working in teaching and research positions, duly qualified women are encouraged to apply. Applicants whose native language is not German must be willing to familiarize themselves with the German language. 
Applications should include a CV, a list of publications and presentations as well as a teaching portfolio  to be sent by regular mail to the following address: University of Zurich, Faculty of Law, Dean's Office, Rämistrasse 74/2, CH-8001 Zurich 
The closing date for applications is March 14th, 2018. Submission of publications and research papers may be requested at a later stage. 
For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Thier (

Details regarding the job requirements are available at

21 January 2018

BOOK: Géraldine CAZALS and Florent GARNIER, eds., Les décisionnaires et la coutume : contribution à la fabrique de la norme [Études d'histoire du droit et des idées politiques] (Toulouse: Presses de l’Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, 2017). €25,00. ISBN 978-2-3617-0146-8

(Source: CTHDIP)

The Centre Toulousain d’Histoire du Droit et des Idées Politiques has published a new book on French customary law in the Middle Ages and Ancien Régime

Summary by the editors

S’inscrivant dans le cadre d’un renouvellement historiographique important, pour la coutume comme pour l’arrestographie, cet ouvrage porte un intérêt particulier à divers auteurs et œuvres essentiels à notre connaissance de l’histoire du droit français.

Réunissant les actes d’un colloque tenu à l’Université de Toulouse 1 Capitole les 9 et 10 juin 2016, il s’attache ainsi à étudier les liens existants entre précédent judiciaire et coutume, du Moyen Âge jusqu’à la fin de l’Ancien Régime. Il interroge, pour différents espaces, coutumiers et sources du droit d’Ancien Régime ainsi que la nécessaire distinction entre des us et coutumes liés à des pratiques sociales et un droit coutumier produit par la science du droit et notamment par la jurisprudence.

Géraldine CAZALS, professeur d’histoire du droit à l’Université de Rouen, membre de l’Institut universitaire de France.

Florent GARNIER, professeur d'histoire du droit à l'Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, directeur du Centre Toulousain d'Histoire du Droit et des Idées Politiques (E.A. 789).

Table of Contents

Jacques Krynen, Dix ans de travaux français d'histoire du droit intéressant la coutume. Bref commentaire en quatre points , p. 19
Albert Rigaudière, Les 'Paix d’Aurillac': un pacte sur la coutume rédigé à trois mains (1277-1347) , p. 45
Florent Garnier, Les coutumes de Toulouse au XIIIe siècle : une écriture sous influence , p. 163
Nicolas Leroy, Statuts et justice. Une approche du problème de l’application pratique des normes municipales dans les villes du Sud-Ouest de la France , p. 211
Xavier Prévost, La jurisprudence des arrêts dans les Institutes coutumières d'Antoine Loisel (1536-1617) d'après le manuscrit 3182 de la Bibliothèque Mazarine , p. 225
Géraldine Cazals, Du droit et des coutumes dans les Arrests et Plaidoyez de Claude Expilly (1561-1636) , p. 245
Jacqueline Vendrand-Voyer, Les décisionnaires et 'l’esprit de la coutume', p. 321
Béatrice Fourniel. L'utilisation de la coutume dans un recueil de jurisprudence aurillacois (1692-1730) , p. 345
Jean-Philippe Agresti, La place des coutumes parmi les autres sources du droit dans les écrits provençaux des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles : Jean-Baptiste Reboul (1640-1719) et Jean-Joseph Julien (1704-1789) , p. 365
Christine Mengès-Le Pape, La coutume à travers les recueils de jurisprudence du second XVIIIe siècle , p. 399
David Deroussin, Pothier, la coutume (d’Orléans) et le droit coutumier, p. 413
Jean Bart, Les décisionnaires et les silences de la coutume, p. 449
Jean-Louis Halpérin, La coutume en Nouvelle-Calédonie en attente de décisionnaire(s) ?, p. 465
Index, p. 481
Liste des auteurs, p. 497
Table des matières, p. 499

The introduction can be found online here. For more information, see the website of the publisher.

20 January 2018

JOURNAL: Comparative Legal History V (2017), No. 2 (ISSN 2049-6788)

The second issue of 2017 for Comparative Legal History (this Society's organ) has appeared.

All of our members have received a hard copy.

Table of contents:
Editorial (Heikki Pihlajamäki & Aniceto Masferrer)

Claiming apologies: a revival of amende honorable ? (Jan Hallebeek & Andrea Zwart-Hink)

The usurpation of legal roles by Suriname's Governing Council, 1669-1815 (Karwan Fatah-Black)

Charters in the longue durée: the mobility and applicability of donative documents in Europe and America from Edward I to chief justice John Marshall (Edward Cavanagh)

Book reviews
Martin Luthers Reformation und das Recht. Die Entwicklung der Theologie Luthers und ihre Auswirkung auf das Recht unter den Rahmenbedingungen der Reichsreform und der Territorialstaatsbildung im Kampf mit Rom und den “Schwärmern” (Matthias Schmoeckel)

New perspectives on European women’s legal history (Jean Elisabeth Pedersen)

The protectors of Indians in the Royal Audiencia of Lima. History, careers and legal culture, 1575–1775 (Renzo Honores)

Legal plunder: households and debt collection in late medieval Europe (Paul Brand)

Guardian of the Treaty: the privy council appeal and Irish Sovereignty (Patrick Geoghegan)

The Danish medieval laws: the laws of Scania, Zealand and Jutland (Per Andersen)

More information on Routledge's website.

15 January 2018

INTENSIVE COURSE: Law Books: History & Connoisseurship (Yale Law School, 10-15 Jun 2018)

(image source: abovethelaw)

The Rare Book School is now accepting applications for "Law Books: History & Connoisseurship," a week-long, intensive course that will be offered June 10-15, 2018, at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.
This year marks my sixth time teaching the course, and the first time that I will be most ably assisted by Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Law Library.
This intensive, week-long course is about building focused, interesting, and useful collections of historical materials in Anglo-American, European, and Latin American law. It is aimed at individuals and librarians who collect historical legal materials, and the book dealers who supply them. Lively discussion and extensive hands-on activities are hallmarks of the course. A full description, preliminary reading list, and past student evaluations are available at
Details on applying for admission to the course are at The application deadline for first-round decisions is February 19. Applications received after this date will be considered on a rolling basis. Enrollment is strictly limited to 12 students.
I can answer questions about the content of the course. All questions about applications, admissions, tuition, and housing should be directed to the Rare Book School staff, at

Rare Book Librarian & Lecturer in Legal Research
Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511-8918
Phone: (203) 432-4494
Yale Law Library - Rare Books Blog:

(source: HLaw)

ARTICLE: James CRAWFORD, The Current Political Discourse Concerning International Law (Modern Law Review LXXXI (2018), no. 1 (January), pp. 1-22)

(image source: Pinterest, man writing)

James Crawford (Judge, International Court of Justice) published "The Current Political Discourse Concerning International Law", which appeared in the Modern Law Review LXXXI (2018), No. 1:

Reading current statements of world leaders on subjects relevant to international law is liable to cause confusion, even distress to those for whom the 1945 regulatory arrangements, as completed in the post-Cold War era, have become the norm. On occasions international law is invoked, but in what seems an increasingly antagonistic way, amounting often to a dialogue of the deaf. At other times it is apparently or even transparently ignored. This touches many of the arrangements governments spent the preceding period seeking to establish. Is there a pattern to all this, and how should we respond? How susceptible is the edifice of international law to such rhetoric? These issues are examined in the context of the law of withdrawal from treaties. Three recent high profile examples are examined: Brexit, South Africa's purported withdrawal from the Rome Statute, and the United States’ announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Source: International Law Reporter.
More information here.

14 January 2018

BOOK: Eirik Bjørge and Cameron A. Miles, eds., Landmark cases in Public International Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2017). £120.00. ISBN 9781849467889

(Source: Hart Publishing)

Hart Publishing has published a book last month on some of the landmark cases in international law over the past 200 years:


The past two hundred years have seen the transformation of public international law from a rule-based extrusion of diplomacy into a fully-fledged legal system. Landmark Cases in Public International Law examines decisions that have contributed to the development of international law into an integrated whole, whilst also creating specialised sub-systems that stand alone as units of analysis. The significance of these decisions is not taken for granted, with contributors critically interrogating the cases to determine if their reputation as 'landmarks' is deserved. Emphasis is also placed on seeing each case as a diplomatic artefact, highlighting that international law, while unquestionably a legal system, remains reliant on the practice and consent of states as the prime movers of development.

The cases selected cover a broad range of subject areas including state immunity, human rights, the environment, trade and investment, international organisations, international courts and tribunals, the laws of war, international crimes, and the interface between international and municipal legal systems. A wide array of international and domestic courts are also considered, from the International Court of Justice to the European Court of Human Rights, World Trade Organization Appellate Body, US Supreme Court and other adjudicative bodies. The result is a three-dimensional picture of international law: what it was, what it is, and what it might yet become.


1. Introduction
Eirik Bjorge and Cameron Miles
2. The Charming Betsy and The Paquete Habana (1804 and 1900)
William S Dodge
3. Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions (Greece v Great Britain) (1924–27)
Michael Waibel
4. Factory at Chorzów (Germany v Poland) (1927–28)
Chester Brown
5. SS Lotus (France v Turkey) (1927)
Douglas Guilfoyle
6. Island of Palmas (Netherlands v United States of America) (1928)
Eirik Bjorge
7. Legal Status of Eastern Greenland (Denmark v Norway) (1933)
Rolf Einar Fife
8. Trail Smelter (United States of America/Canada) (1938 and 1941)
Duncan French
9. Trial Before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945–46)
Katherine O'Byrne and Philippe Sands
10. The Early United Nations Advisory Opinions (1948–62)
Thomas D Grant and Rowan Nicholson
11. The South West Africa Cases (1949 to 1971)
James Crawford and Paul Mertenskötter
12. North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany v Netherlands; Federal Republic of Germany v Denmark) (1969)
Nikiforos Panagis and Antonios Tzanakopoulos
13. Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company (Belgium v Spain) (1970)
Giorgio Gaja
14. Tyrer v United Kingdom (1978)
Nigel Rodley
15. Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v United States of America) (1984 to 1986)
Robert Kolb
16. Tadic v Prosecutor (1995)
Sarah MH Nouwen and Michael A Becker
17. The Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinions (1996)
Surabhi Ranganathan
18. Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia) (1997)
Laurence Boisson de Chazournes and Makane Moïse Mbengue
19. Vivendi v Argentina (1997–2010)
Sam Luttrell
20. US-Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products (1998)
Callum Musto and Catherine Redgwell
21. LaGrand (Germany v United States of America) (2001)
Cameron Miles
22. Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2004)
John Dugard
23. Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v Italy;Greece intervening) (2012)
Omri Sender and Michael Wood

More information on the website of the publisher

BOOK: Georgy Kantor, Thomas Benedict Lambert, and Hannah Skoda, eds., Legalism : Property and ownership (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). $85.00. ISBN 9780198813415

Oxford University Press has published “Legalism: Property and Ownership”


In this volume, ownership is defined as the simple fact of being able to describe something as 'mine' or 'yours', and property is distinguished as the discursive field which allows the articulation of attendant rights, relationships, and obligations. Property is often articulated through legalism as a way of thinking that appeals to rules and to generalizing concepts as a way of understanding, responding to, and managing the world around one. An Aristotelian perspective suggests that ownership is the natural state of things and a prerequisite of a true sense of self. An alternative perspective from legal theory puts law at the heart of the origins of property. However, both these points of view are problematic in a wider context, the latter because it rests heavily on Roman law. Anthropological and historical studies enable us to interrogate these assumptions. 

The articles here, ranging from Roman provinces to modern-day piracy in Somalia, address questions such as: How are legal property regimes intertwined with economic, moral-ethical, and political prerogatives? How far do the assumptions of the western philosophical tradition explain property and ownership in other societies? Is the 'bundle of rights' a useful way to think about property? How does legalism negotiate property relationships and interests between communities and individuals? How does the legalism of property respond to the temporalities and materialities of the objects owned? How are property regimes managed by states, and what kinds of conflicts are thus generated? 

Property and ownership cannot be reduced to natural rights, nor do they straightforwardly reflect power relations: the rules through which property is articulated tend to be conceptually subtle. As the fourth volume in the Legalism series, this collection draws on common themes that run throughout the first three volumes: Legalism: Anthropology and HistoryLegalism: Community and Justice, and Legalism: Rules and Categories consolidating them in a framework that suggests a new approach to legal concepts.


Introduction - Property and Ownership: an Overview, Georgy Kantor, Tom Lambert , and Hannah Skoda
1. Cows and the Shariah in the Abeche Customary Court (eastern Chad), Judith Scheele
2. Property in Land in Roman Provinces, Georgy Kantor
3. Property and Possession in Medieval Celtic Societies, T.M. Charles-Edwards
4. The Afterlife of Property: Affect, Time, Value, Matthew Erie
5. Jurisdiction as Property in England, 900-1100, Tom Lambert
6. 'Everything Belongs to God': Sayyid Qutb's Theory of Property and Social Justice, Walter Rech
7. A Sea of Profit: Making Property in the Western Indian Ocean, Jatin Dua
8. Fish as Property on the Small Aral Sea, Kazakhstan, William Wheeler
9. People as Property in Medieval Dubrovnik, Hannah Skoda

More information on the website of Oxford University Press 

FELLOWSHIP: “Raoul Berger-Mark DeWolfe Howe Legal History Fellowship” (Harvard Law School, Academic Year 2018-2019), DEADLINE 15 FEBRUARY 2018

Harvard Law School is inviting applications for its yearly Raoul Berger-Mark DeWolfe Howe Legal History Fellowship:

Harvard Law School invites applications for the Berger-Howe Fellowship for the academic year 2018-2019.  Eligible applicants include those who have a first law degree, who have completed the required coursework for a doctorate, or who have recently been awarded a doctoral degree. A J.D. is preferred, but not required.  The purpose of the fellowship is to enable the fellow to complete a major piece of writing in the field of legal history, broadly defined. There are no limitations as to geographical area or time period. 

Fellows are expected to spend the majority of their time on their own research. They also help coordinate the Harvard Law School Legal History Colloquium, which meets four or five times each semester. Fellows are invited to present their own work at the colloquium. Fellows will be required to be in residence at the law school during the academic year (September through May). 

Applicants for the fellowship for 2018-2019 should submit their applications and supporting materials electronically to Professor Bruce H. Mann. 

Applications should outline briefly the fellow’s proposed project (no more than five typewritten pages) and include a writing sample and a curriculum vitae that gives the applicant’s educational background, publications, works in progress, and other relevant experience, accompanied by official transcripts of all academic work done at the graduate level. The applicant should arrange for two academic references to be submitted electronically. The transcripts may be sent by regular mail to Professor Mann at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138. 

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2018, and announcement of the award will be made by March 15, 2018. 

The fellow selected will be awarded a stipend of $38,000.

More information on the proposals of past fellowship holders can be found on the website of Harvard Law School  

BOOK: John Reynolds, Empire, Emergency and International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). £ 85.00. ISBN 9781107172517

Cambridge University Press has recently published the book “Empire, Emergency and International Law”.


What does it mean to say we live in a permanent state of emergency? What are the juridical, political and social underpinnings of that framing? Has international law played a role in producing or challenging the paradigm of normalised emergency? How should we understand the relationship between imperialism, race and emergency legal regimes? In addressing such questions, this book situates emergency doctrine in historical context. It illustrates some of the particular colonial lineages that have shaped the state of emergency, and emphasises that contemporary formations of emergency governance are often better understood not as new or exceptional, but as part of an ongoing historical constellation of racialised emergency politics. The book highlights the connections between emergency law and violence, and encourages alternative approaches to security discourse. It will appeal to scholars and students of international law, colonial history, postcolonialism and human rights, as well as policymakers and social justice advocates.

Prologue pp 1-4  
Part I - Traditions of the Oppressed pp 5-108 
1 - Emergency, Colonialism and Third World Approaches to International Law pp 7-35 
2 - Racialisation and States of Emergency pp 36-67 
3 - Emergency Doctrine pp 68-108 
 Part II - Empire’s Law pp 109-192 
4 - Emergency Derogations and the International Human Rights Project pp 111-137 
5 - Kenya pp 138-169 
6 - The Margin of Appreciation Doctrine pp 170-192 
Part III - The Colonial Present pp 193-288 
7 - Palestine pp 195-243 
8 - Australia pp 244-265 
9 - International Law, Resistance and ‘Real’ States of Emergency pp 266-288 
Bibliography pp 289-313 
Acknowledgements pp 314-316 
Index pp 317-330 

For more information, see the website of the publisher. 

CALL FOR PAPERS: French law versus Common law au XIXe siècle. La naissance d’une concurrence entre modèles juridiques (Rennes/Paris, 4 April 2018 and 9 October 2018)

The Université de Rennes and Université Paris Descartes have the following call for papers:

Cycle de deux journées d’étude organisé par l’Institut d’Histoire du Droit (EA 2515) de l’Université Paris Descartes et l’IODE – Institut de l’Ouest : Droit et Europe (UMR CNRS 6262) de l’Université de Rennes 1
Acte I : Université de Rennes 1, 4 avril 2018
Acte II : Université Paris Descartes, 9 octobre 2018

À l’origine d’une comparaison, d’une concurrence, d’un jeu de miroirs.

Depuis une trentaine d’années, de nombreux juristes français s’émeuvent devant l’expansion des systèmes de common law. Ils constatent que celui-ci est à la mode dans les grands cabinets d’avocats, dans les think tank économiques et commerciaux ou dans certaines institutions internationales. Ils observent, par contraste, que le modèle de civil law est souvent maltraité par les économistes et les universitaires anglo-américains. Ils craignent que la diversité juridique ne plie devant l’impérialisme du common law et que de vastes espaces de tradition civiliste ne basculent irrémédiablement du côté non codifié du droit.

Historiquement – cela est bien connu –, ces deux systèmes juridiques ont suivi des voies distinctes et ont adopté, chemin faisant, des doctrines et des pratiques qui les ont rendu progressivement étrangers l’un à l’autre. Etrangers ? Le terme doit être nuancé si l’on considère la mixité juridique à Québec, en Louisiane, à Sainte-Lucie ou à Maurice. Il n’en reste pas moins qu’au XIXe siècle, la doctrine de part et d’autre de la Manche traite des deux systèmes juridiques comme de « modèles concurrents », d’« opposite systems » ou de « rival systems », en exacerbant les particularismes respectifs.

Ce cycle de journées d’étude vise à examiner ce processus :

1. Faire connaître les œuvres doctrinales et les discours politiques qui ont participé à la concurrence entre modèles juridiques / Examiner les domaines dans lesquels les juristes promeuvent les qualités de l’un et l’autre modèles.

2. Observer comment la comparaison, l’admiration ou le rejet réciproque ont accusé les spécificités entre les systèmes. Ces systèmes étaient certes différents à l’origine, mais en quoi la prise de conscience de cette différence et le travail de comparaison ont-ils accentué, voire créé des opposite systems ?

3. Constater l’écho de ces débats aux XXe et XXIe siècles dans l’actualité du droit comparé, dans l’activité des cabinets d’avocats et des institutions internationales.

Nous invitons à faire parvenir des propositions de communication (300 mots maximum), en français ou en anglais, aux organisateurs du colloque, pour l’une ou l’autre des dates suivantes :
– Première journée d’étude, Rennes 1, mercredi 4 avril 2018 : « French Law v. Common Law au XIXe siècle. Acte I ».
– Deuxième journée d’étude, Paris V – Descartes, mardi 9 octobre 2018 : « French Law v. Common Law au XIXe siècle. Acte II ».
La participation et l’inscription aux journées d’étude sont gratuites. Les organisateurs financent l’hôtel et les repas des conférenciers, mais ne peuvent pas financer les déplacements du Canada, d’Australie, du Royaume-Uni, des États-Unis vers la France.

Contacts des organisateurs :

M. Gwenaël Guyon :
Pr Sylvain Soleil :
Pr Arnaud Vergne :

Comité scientifique:

Pr David Gilles (Sherbrooke University – Law School)
Pr Eric Descheemaker (University of Melbourne – Melbourne Law School)
Pr Peter Johnstone (University of North Texas – Denton)
Pr Michael Lobban (London School of Economics and Political Sciences)
Pr Sylvain Soleil (Université Rennes 1)
M. Gwenaël Guyon (Université Paris V – Descartes)
Pr Arnaud Vergne (Université Paris V – Descartes)

More information can be found on the website of the Université Paris Descartes 

12 January 2018

BOOK: Peter MACALISTER-SMITH & Joachim SCHWIETZKE, Diplomatic Conferences and Congresses. A Bibliographical Compendium of State Practice 1642 to 1919 [Arbeitshefte der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für juristisches Bibliotheks- und Dokumentationswesen 25] (Graz: Neugebauer Verlag), 2017, ISBN 978-3-85376-325-4, €29,58

(image source: Neugebauer Verlag)

A survey of diplomatic conferences and congresses convened worldwide from 1642 to 1919 with extensive references to their published documents. Includes additionally a synopsis of the resulting acts, agreements, conventions, declarations and other instruments adopted by the states participating in each conference or congress.
The meetings of the conferences and congresses are arranged thematically in 111 groups starting at Münster and Osnabrück to prepare the Peace of Westphalia. In total 280 conferences and congresses are recorded. Over one third of the conferences and congresses were held from 1827 to 1919 at London and Paris. Other leading cities in order of diminishing frequency were Brussels, Bern, The Hague, Berlin, Istanbul, Washington and Vienna. The compendium closes with the peace of Brest-Litovsk (1917) and the Inter-Allied Conference of the Powers held in Paris and environs from 1919 to 1920. The Latin American and Pan American congresses are well represented, for example at Buenos Aires, Guatemala, Lima, Managua, Mexico, Montevideo, Panama, Rio de Janeiro, San José, San Salvador, Santiago and Tegucigalpa. Annexes supply further information on the Versailles treaty with Germany and the Covenant of the League of Nations.
On the authors:

Joachim Schwietzke Library Director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany. Peter Macalister-Smith is known internationally as the assistant general editor of the consolidated library edition of the Encyclopedia of Public International Law (1992–2003) and as the principal editor at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany, of the Journal of the History of International Law (2004–2015). Peter is a member of the editorial board of JUS GENTIUM, Journal of International Legal History, Talbot Publishing, Lawbook Exchange, Clark NJ, United States of America.

Table of contents here.

More information with the publisher.

(source: Legal History Blog)