12 July 2019

JOURNAL: Comparative Legal History VII (2019), No. 1

(image source: ESCLH)

Introduction (Heikki Pihlajamäki & Matt Dyson)

Between the Lion Cub of Judea and the British Lion: cause lawyers, British rule and national struggle in Mandatory Palestine (Shimon-Erez Blum)
The tempestuous political environment of the final days of British Mandate rule in Palestine saw intensive activity by cause lawyers. As a test case of this activity, this article examines the conduct of the attorneys who handled the case of Dov Gruner, a member of the Irgun Zionist underground. In April 1946, Gruner was sentenced to death by a British military court. Informed by cause lawyering paradigm, the article examines the tactics used by his lawyers and their relations with players within and outside the court. This examination sheds light on the links between nationality, the law and lawyers at that time in Palestine. In particular, the analysis highlights the key role played by the lawyers in the Gruner affair, similar from that perspective to the dominant role of lawyers in the Irish War of Independence and different from the relatively marginal role played by lawyers in Indian freedom struggle.
 Do you know the ninth commandment? Tensions of the oath in Dutch colonial Sri Lanka (Nadeera Rupesinghe)
Colonial agents often saw the value of improvising the corporal form of the oath for the smoother functioning of judicial bodies. In eighteenth-century Sri Lanka, the Dutch colonial government found that potential swearers were mostly nominal Christians who had few scruples about giving false oaths. This subtle resistance prompted the Dutch to make changes to accommodate local customs. Ultimately, the changes were of little use due to the mutual discrediting of potential oath-takers. A nominal Christian’s refusal to take the Dutch oath and preference for the local oath would be criticized, as also an acceptance of the Dutch form. Plural forms of the oath thus did not always provide the desired effect but rebounded in unexpected ways. This article argues that the study of mundane everyday judicial practice is needed to gain deeper insights into the functioning of pluralistic and colonial law.
 Enhancing comparative legal history: the ESCLH’s contribution on its 10th anniversary (Aniceto Masferrer Domingo)
The ESCLH will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its foundation in the Hague on 5 December 2019. The following pages describe and reflect on the contribution of the ESCLH to comparative legal history, analysing the past and the present, while looking to the future, before concluding with some final considerations on what I call the ‘Spirit’ of the ESCLH.
Book reviews:

  •  Juger les fous au Moyen Âge dans les tribunaux royaux en France XIVe-XVe siècles by Maud Ternon, Paris, PUF, 2018, 274 pp., € 25 (hbk), ISBN 978-2130749516 (Yves Mausen)
  • Challenges to authority and the recognition of rights: from Magna Carta to modernity edited by Catharine MacMillan and Charlotte Smith, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018, ix + 351 pp., £95.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781108429238 (Robert Brett Taylor)
  • Blackstone and his critics edited by Anthony Page and Wilfrid Prest, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2018, 229 + xxi pp., $117 (hbk), ISBN 978-1509910458 (Matthew Stubbs)
  • Building a revolutionary state: the legal transformation of New York, 1776–1783 by Howard Pashman, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2018, 192 pp., $30 (hbk), ISBN 978-0226544014 (John P. Kaminski)
  • 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 by David Lynch, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2018, 256 pp., $108 (hbk), ISBN 978-1509910854 (Tara Helfman)
  • Iterations of law: legal histories from India edited by Aparna Balachandran, Rashmi Pant and Bhavani Raman, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2018, 312 pp., £38,99 (hbk), ISBN 978-0199477791 (Sanjukta Das Gupta)
  • The conservative human rights revolution. European identity, transnational politics and the origins of the European Convention by Marco Duranti, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, 528 pp., £59 (hbk), ISBN 978-0199811380 (Koen Lemmens)
  • The Law of Nations in Global History by C.H. Alexandrowicz, edited by David Armitage and Jennifer Pitts, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, 464 pp., £80 (hbk), ISBN 978-0198766070 (Adam Clulow)
More information with Routledge.

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