30 November 2022

BOOK: Claire DE BLOIS & Dan MIMOUN (Eds.), Le statut juridique des populations marginalisées. Le droit comme instrument de différenciation (Rome: Historia et ius, 2022). ISBN: 978-88-946376-5-6] pp. 120 [OPEN ACCESS]

The pdf version of the book is available here.

BOOK: Philipp N. SPAHN, Die Bibel als Norm? Das Ringen um das Recht der Kirche in Streitschriften aus der Zeit des Investiturstreits, ca. 1050–1140 (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2022), ISSN 9783465045441


Profound changes in the handling of texts characterised the period since the middle of the 11th century and significantly contributed to the scientification of canon law. The effects of these methodological changes on how contemporaries worked with biblical texts, however, have remained largely unexplored. This study aims to fill this research lacuna by using the example of the controversy literature produced in the context of the Investiture Contest. It shows the significance of the struggle for a correct understanding of the biblical text for the scientification of canon law, on the one hand, and that of the Bible for the law of the Church, on the other. More-over, these debates with and about the biblical texts paved the way for a paradigmatic shift away from custom as the central figure of thought in early medieval secular law. In its place, truth be-came the paradigm of a new era, and would go on to change much more than the Church and its law.

More information can be found here.

29 November 2022

BOOK PRESENTATION: "Per una storia costituzionale italiana attraverso la letteratura", a cura di Gianluca Bascherini e Giorgio Repetto - 2 dicembre 2022 - Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche della Sapienza - Roma


BOOK: Jonathan R. LYON, Corruption, Protection and Justice in Medieval Europe. A Thousand-Year History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), ISBN: 9781316513743


What was an “advocate” (Latin: advocatus; German: Vogt) in the Middle Ages? What responsibilities came with the position and how did they change over time? With this groundbreaking study, Jonathan R. Lyon challenges the standard narrative of a “medieval” Europe of feudalism and lordship being replaced by a “modern” Europe of government, bureaucracy and the state. By focusing on the position of advocate, he argues for continuity in corrupt practices of justice and protection between 750 and 1800. This book traces the development of the role of church advocate from the Carolingian period onward and explains why this position became associated with the violent abuse of power on churches’ estates. When other types of advocates became common in and around Germany after 1250, including territorial and urban advocates, they were not officeholders in developing bureaucracies. Instead, they used similar practices to church advocates to profit illicitly from their positions, which calls into question scholarly arguments about the decline of violent lordship and the rise of governmental accountability in European history.


Jonathan R. Lyon is Professor of History at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in the history of the Holy Roman Empire. He has previously held fellowships from the Humboldt Foundation and the Austrian Science Fund. He is the author of Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100–1250 (2013), which won the 2017 John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America, and Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany (2017).



  1. The First “Medieval” Advocates
  2. Putting Down Roots in Ninth-Century Francia
  3. The « Aristocratization » of Post-Carolingian Advocacy
  4. Elite Competition at the Turn of the First Millennium
  5. The Limits of Church Reform
  6. Pigs and Sheep, Beer and Wine, Pennies and Pounds
  7. A History of Violence
  8. Weapons of the Not-so-Weak
  9. The Murder of Archbishop Engelbert
  10. Widening the Lens
  11. The Emperor as Vogt, ca. 1000–1500
  12. From Lordship to Government?
  13. Reframing the History of Violence
  14. Crossing the False Divide: Advocates after 1500
  15. A Cultural History of the Rapacious Advocate, or: William Tell’s Revenge

More information can be found here.

28 November 2022

SEMINAR: Seminari storico giuridici di Roma Tre - 30 novembre 2022


JOURNAL: Revue d'histoire des Facultés de droit, Hors série Lectures de... n° 10 : Interprétation et signification à la Renaissance. Le cas du droit (trad. V. Hayaert, Genève, Droz, 2016 ; 1re éd. en anglais, Cambridge, CUP, 1992), de Ian Maclean (2022) // OPEN ACCESS

Nous avons été informés de la publication des actes de la Journée d’étude organisée le 10 décembre 2021 à l’université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne par Xavier Prévost avec le soutien de l'Institut universitaire de France, de l'Institut de Recherche Montesquieu (université de Bordeaux) et de l'Institut de Recherche Juridique de la Sorbonne, textes mis en ligne le 12 novembre 2022.


Xavier Prévost, Introduction.

Géraldine Cazals, Des juristes et du droit.
Marie-Luce Demonet, Arbitratu : la naissance juridique des langues à la Renaissance.
Max Engammare, Le juriste exégète de la Bible à la Renaissance.
Quentin Epron, Formes et figures du juriste savant à la Renaissance.
Valérie Hayaert, Lectures de Ian Maclean.
Jean-Marie Le Gall, Une lecture historienne.
Ian Maclean, Postface.

Ensemble des contributions :

Detailed information can be found here.

25 November 2022

WORKSHOP: Towards a Lexicon of Medieval and Early Modern Commercial Law (Padua, 2 DEC 2022; online)


(Image Source: MICOLL)

The ERC CoG20 MICOLL will analyze the development of commercial law by means of a tool almost ignored in this field: historical linguistics. The borrowing and transfer of legal terms will be carried out through a comprehensive and systematic investigation of medieval and early modern legal sources, in particular commercial letters, contracts and statutes. Even though legal historians tend to deny the effectiveness of a body of customary laws uniformly adopted across medieval and modern Europe, the “myth” of the ancient lex mercatoria continues to provide historical legitimacy to the supporters of corporate self-regulation. According to a widespread historiographical topos, merchants all over the world “spoke the same language” when it came to what was important for them: to make profits. As legal institutions are represented by technical legal words, an analysis of the terms merchants actually used is a powerful and never attempted way to verify the impact of merchants’ migrations on the development of commercial law, which had, in its turn, tremendous effects on social and economic history.

The first workshop of the project aims at creating a dialogue between historians, jurists, linguists, and engineers to set up a lexicon which is intended to be, at the same time, extremely accurate and user-friendly.

The Workshop website and program:

MORNING SESSION: Chair – Prof. Silvia Di Paolo (Roma Tre University)

9:00 Greetings by Prof. Manlio Miele (Head of Department of Private Law and Critique of Law, University of Padua)

9:15 Greetings by Prof. Nicoletta Maraschio (Professor Emeritus, University of Florence; Honorary President of the Accademia della Crusca)

9:30 Greetings and introduction by Prof. Stefania Gialdroni (University of Padua): When Legal History Meets Historical Linguistics: Challenges, Goals, and Outcomes of the ERC CoG MICOLL

10:00 Dr. Jake Dyble (University of Padua): “From Port to Port and Fair to Fair”: Migrating Institutions Beyond Lex Mercatoria. Discussant Prof. Dave De ruysscher (Tilburg University)

10:45 - 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 Dr. Denise Bezzina (University of Padua): Rethinking the Commenda (Genoa, Venice, 12th-13th Centuries). Discussant Prof. Albrecht Cordes (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)

12:00 Dr. David De Concilio (University of Padua): L’importanza di ciò che non migra. Il caso del mutuo nelle repubbliche marinare tra diritto e lingua (XII-XV secolo). Discussant Prof. Raffaele Volante (University of Padua)

13:00 - 14:30 Lunch Break

AFTERNOON SESSION: Chair – Prof. Beatrice Pasciuta (University of Palermo)

14:30 Dr. Francesca Fusco (University of Padua): Per un repertorio degli italianismi del commercio nel tedesco: il contributo del DIFIT. Discussant Prof. Federigo Bambi (University of Florence)

15:15 Dr. Davide Basaldella (University of Padua): L’influsso delle varietà italoromanze settentrionali sul lessico commerciale tedesco. Considerazioni preliminari. Discussant Prof. Daniele Baglioni (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

16:00 - 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 Dr. Fabio Giachelle (University of Padua): Towards a collaborative glossary construction. Discussant Prof. Maria Fusaro (University of Exeter)

17:00 Prof. Giorgio Di Nunzio (University of Padua): A FAIR Trade: The Road of Merchants Paved With LOD

17:30 Conclusion by Prof. Emanuele Conte (Roma Tre University)

18:00 End of Workshop

To join the meeting online send an email to 

JOURNAL: Právněhistorické studie 52 (2022), nr 1 (OPEN ACCESS)


The latest volume of Právněhistorické studie contains i.a. these papers:

Heiner Lück, Pluralismus der Rechtsordnungen als Folge der lutherischen Reformation (


This article addresses the question of whether and how the Lutheran Reformation led to a (further) pluralisation of legal systems. Since the beginning of the early modern period, primarily in the course of the 16th century, a wave of legal records and legal codifications can be observed throughout Europe. The connection with the reception of Roman and Canon law is obvious. On a completely different level, an epochal church schism took place from the early 16th century onwards, triggered by Martin Luther’s (1483–1546) fundamental criticism of the Roman Church. The term “pluralism of legal systems” is used here in the sense of diversity as well as the accepted coexistence and togetherness of cultural phenomena in the field of law. The article is divided into three sections: In the first section, an overview of legislation, primarily in the Holy Roman Empire, from about 1517 to the end of the 16th century will be given. Among the many examples will be the famous Czech city law codification of Pavel Koldin, which was newly edited and annotated a few years ago. A second section will deal with those legal norms that are related to the Lutheran Reformation and can be seen as consequences of the Reformation. In a third section, some substantive innovations that have had an impact up to the current legal system will be presented. The conclusion will be a short summary and some further observations.

Gábor Hollósi, Hungarian System for the Nomination of Parliamentary Candidates between the Two Wars in the European Context (


The institution of the nomination of parliamentary candidates was already well known in most European electoral systems between the two wars. Its purpose can be briefly summarized as meaning that the voters can only cast their votes for a person who has previously been nominated as a parliamentary candidate under the conditions specified by law. Within the European field, the contemporary Hungarian nomination system is characterized by its extraordinary intricacy, and the high number of abuses naturally follows from its complexity. However, in our study we do not deal with these abuses but describe the Hungarian rules and regulations while constantly researching its European aspects. Accordingly, we divided our work into three units. First of all, we classify the continent’s nomination systems in order to show where the place of the Hungarian rules and regulations between the two wars were. Thereafter, we review the development of the Hungarian rules based on the Electoral Decree of 1922, the (First) Electoral Act of 1925, the so-called “Nomination” Amendment Act of 1937 and the (Second) Electoral Act of 1938. Finally, using the Explanatory Memorandums to the mentioned acts and the discussion materials of the National Assembly/Parliament, we look for the European (comparative) examples that emerged during their creation. Our study will also show what the Explanatory Memorandums to the acts (which reflect the pro-government standpoint) or the parliamentary opposition considered worth highlighting from the nomination systems of foreign countries.

For the contents of the earlier volumes of this journal see this page.



24 November 2022

SEMINAR SERIES: La modernité politique en ses textes, entre méthodologie et historiographie (November 2022 - April 2023; Parigi: EHESS)


Consacré aux questions relatives à la modernité politique sous l'Ancien Régime, le séminaire cette année change de formule. Il se consacrera à l'étude de dossiers en cours d'analyse afin de proposer des séances de réflexion à partir de corpus de sources qui soulèvent des problèmes méthodologiques et d'interprétation. Les recherches présentées à partir des fonds d'archives et de la documentation imprimée concerneront essentiellement les thèmes propres à articuler les perspectives de puissance monarchique et de permanence dynastique, et feront la part belle aux approches sur le domaine royal, et à l'articulation entre la globalité du pouvoir et son inscription dans des dimensions locales, au travers de la production des sources. La définition du domaine, sa composition, la production théorique qui s'y rapporte, les ressources qu'il peut représenter pour l'entretien de la famille royale, mais aussi l'assise territoriale sous-jacente, se conjugueront à d'autres interventions, plus ponctuelles, sur la construction d'un Etat dit « moderne » saisie au travers de la production de ses sources. Principalement centré sur la période des XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, dans un dialogue constant entre historiens et juristes, le séminaire ne se privera pas d'ouvrir vers d'autres champs de la recherche.

Le séminaire est organisé par Pierre Bonin, professeur d'histoire du droit à l'Ecole de droit de la Sorbonne-Université Paris 1, et Fanny Cosandey, directrice d'études à l'EHESS. Le séminaire se déroule les 1er, 3e, 5e jeudis du mois, de 17 à 19 h, du 3 novembre 2022 au 20 avril 2023 dans les bâtiments de l'EHESS (Salle A-4-47 - 4e étage, salle 447 -, 54 bd Raspail 75006, Paris)


  • 3 novembre : Fanny Cosandey, « Autour de la royauté sacrée » (1).
  • 17 novembre : Fanny Cosandey, « Autour de la royauté sacrée » (2).
  • 1er décembre : Fanny Cosandey, « Lecture de Choppin, Traité du domaine ».
  • 15 décembre : Pierre Bonin, « Des Recherches au Traité, la noblesse des capitouls de Toulouse, défense ou invention ? ».
  • 5 janvier : Anne Dobigny-Reverso, « Fabrication et circulation des savoirs des notaires royaux : de l'ignorance à la documentation professionnelle ».
  • 19 janvier : Eric Viguier, « L'absolutisme au XVIIIe siècle : entre dogmatisme et reformulation ».
  • 2 février : Paul Chauvin-Hameau, « L'adaptation des savoirs de l'Etat, l'exemple de la théorie de la guerre juste ».
  • 16 février : Pierre Bonin, « Prouver le privilège : la noblesse des capitouls entre nature, don et contrat ».
  • 16 mars : Pierre Bonin, « Montrer la noblesse de la ville pour construire la noblesse de ses magistrats »
  • 30 mars : Fanny Cosandey, « Domaine, pouvoir, territoire » (1).
  • 6 avril : Fanny Cosandey, « Domaine, pouvoir, territoire » (2).
  • 20 avril : Fanny Cosandey, « Domaine, pouvoir, territoire » (3).

Detailed information can be found here.

23 November 2022

WEBINAR: Café virtuel de l'APHG: Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu, "L'État à la lettre. Écrit politique et société administrative en France au temps des guerres de religion (vers 1560 - vers 1620)" - Lundi 12 Décembre 2022, 19h CET


Borsa di studio "Associazione Raffaele Ajello - Storia Società e Diritto"

JOURNAL: La Revue du Centre Michel de l'Hospital (24, 2022: La culture juridique européenne, entre mythes et réalités)


Actes des Journées internationales de la Société d'histoire du droit du 23 au 25 mai 2019 à Clermont-Ferrand, publiés sous la direction de Cyrille Dounot, Nicolas Laurent-Bonne et Rémi Oulion





More information can be found here.

22 November 2022

CFP: International conference celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Ostend Company (1723-2023) - Ostend, Belgium - 21-24 November 2023 [DEADLINE 31 January 2023]


Call for papers 

International conference celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Ostend Company (1723-2023)

 Location: Ostend, Belgium 

Dates: 21-24 November 2023 

Organisers: Royal Belgian Marine Society, Flanders Marine Institute, City of Ostend 

In 2023, it will be 300 years ago that the General Indian Company, better known as the Ostend Company, was founded. It all started in August 1723, when a considerable financial capital was collected by means of an issue of shares at the Antwerp stock market. Most subscribers belonged to the Austrian Netherlands’ aristocracy, financial and commercial elites in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Ostend. With the collected funds silver bullion was acquired, crews were enlisted, ships were bought and equipped in Ostend. Bruges’s outer port thus became the centre of the eighteenth century Habsburg overseas trade expansion. From Ostend, dozens of ships sailed via Brazil to India (Coromandel and Bengal) and China (Canton). Thanks to a number of niche products, such as tea (more than 50% of the European market), the Ostend Company became a major global competitor in the China trade in the 1720s. Its shareholders were rewarded with a net profit of approximately 150%. The port and the city of Ostend flourished and the whole of the Austrian Netherlands reaped the benefits of this newly established maritime trade. Despite its commercial success, the Austrian Netherlands had to put an end to the Ostend Company’s trading activities due to the mounting pressure of their British, Dutch and French neighbours in 1731. 

Even if it only existed for a short period (1723-1731), the importance of the Ostend Company for maritime history cannot be underestimated and reaches far beyond the Belgian context, as it also concerns political, diplomatic, social, commercial, military, intercultural and global aspects of both European and Asian eighteenth-century history. The mixed public-private chartered company can be seen as a Belgium-based multinational corporation avant la lettre, which proved to be an important and innovative global player. But it is also the story of people from different cultures coming together and exchanging views and commodities, highlighting equally the circulation of ideas and practices, and therefore implying knowledge transfers. Although these encounters were generally peaceful, violence did sometimes occur.

The history of the Ostend Company is also one about the economic development of the Austrian Netherlands, the participation of the Habsburg Monarchy in a globalizing world and the opening up of Asian markets to European colonial enterprises. The aim of this international conference is to shed light on a number of as yet unknown aspects, but also to reassess the state of the art from new perspectives or complementary and innovative angles. 

We invite scholars to send in abstracts focusing on the Ostend Company, for instance on the following themes: 

 The juridical aspects of the Ostend Company as a chartered company in a European context (corporate structure, capital base and shareholder involvement, labour relations, trade) 

 Life of the seafarers on board the East Indiamen 

 Intercultural relations between the Ostenders and Indians, Chinese, etc. 

 Military aspects of the Ostend Company at sea and in Asia 

 The impact of the Ostend Company on the economy of the Austrian Netherlands 

 The Ostend Company as focus of European politics and diplomacy in the early eighteenth century, including the legal debate on the freedom of the seas and the establishment of comptoirs 

 Logistic, commercial and financial organisation of the Ostend Company 

 The role of the Ostend Company in globalisation and imperial history

 The Ostend Company compared to other East India Companies, especially with the other smaller companies, e.g. the Danish, Swedish and Prussian companies. 

 The political perception of the Ostend Company in Europe 

 Changes in research topics in historiography with regard to the Ostend Company, especially linked to the Belgian nation-state’s colonial ambitions 

Other themes on the Ostend Company are equally welcome. 

The three day conference will take place at the Flanders Marine Institute in Ostend, Belgium from Wednesday 22 November to Friday 24 November 2023. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the hosts. The conference language is English. Participants will be asked to submit an article for a peer-reviewed publication after the conference. 

Participants to the conference are invited to submit an abstract of maximum 400 words with a short CV (5 to 10 lines) to by January 31st, 2023. The applicants will be informed by the conference’s scientific committee by mid-February 2023.

CONFERENCE: Venise et la diplomatie - Centre d’Etudes des Mondes Moderne et Contemporain - 25 Novembre 2022


BOOK: Jessica M. MARGLIN, The Shamama Case: Contesting Citizenship across the Modern Mediterranean (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022), 384 pp., ISBN 9780691235875, £28

(image source: Princeton University Press)
Book description: 
In the winter of 1873, Nissim Shamama, a wealthy Jew from Tunisia, died suddenly in his palazzo in Livorno, Italy. His passing initiated a fierce lawsuit over his large estate. Before Shamama’s riches could be disbursed among his aspiring heirs, Italian courts had to decide which law to apply to his estate—a matter that depended on his nationality. Was he an Italian citizen? A subject of the Bey of Tunis? Had he become stateless? Or was his Jewishness also his nationality? Tracing a decade-long legal battle involving Jews, Muslims, and Christians from both sides of the Mediterranean, The Shamama Case offers a riveting history of citizenship across regional, cultural, and political borders.

On its face, the crux of the lawsuit seemed simple: To which state did Shamama belong when he died? But the case produced hundreds of pages in legal briefs and thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees before the man’s estate could be distributed among his quarrelsome heirs. Jessica Marglin follows the unfolding of events, from Shamama’s rise to power in Tunis and his self-imposed exile in France, to his untimely death in Livorno and the clashing visions of nationality advanced during the lawsuit. Marglin brings to life a Dickensian array of individuals involved in the case: family members who hoped to inherit the estate; Tunisian government officials; an Algerian Jewish fixer; rabbis in Palestine, Tunisia, and Livorno; and some of Italy’s most famous legal minds.

Drawing from a wealth of correspondence, legal briefs, rabbinic opinions, and court rulings, The Shamama Case reimagines how we think about Jews, the Mediterranean, and belonging in the nineteenth century.

About the author: 

Jessica M. Marglin is associate professor of religion, history, and law and the Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Across Legal Lines.

More information can be found here.  


21 November 2022

BOOK: Ada Maria KUSKOWSKI, Vernacular Law: Writing and the Reinvention of Customary Law in Medieval France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 429 pp., ISBN 9781009217897, £95


(image source: Cambridge University Press)
Book description: 
Custom was fundamental to medieval legal practice. Whether in a property dispute or a trial for murder, the aggrieved and accused would go to lay court where cases were resolved according to custom. What custom meant, however, went through a radical shift in the medieval period. Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, custom went from being a largely oral and performed practice to one that was also conceptualized in writing. Based on French lawbooks known as coutumiers, Ada Maria Kuskowski traces the repercussions this transformation – in the form of custom from unwritten to written and in the language of law from elite Latin to common vernacular – had on the cultural world of law. Vernacular Law offers a new understanding of the formation of a new field of knowledge: authors combined ideas, experience and critical thought to write lawbooks that made disparate customs into the field known as customary law.

Table of contents: 

Introduction: vernacular writing and the transformation of customary law in Medieval France
Part I. Written Custom and the Formation of Vernacular Law:
1. What is custom? Concept and literary practice
2. Composing customary law as a vernacular law
3. Writing a 'ius non scriptum': writtenness, memory and change
Part II. Political and Intellectual Tensions:
4. Uneasy jurisdictions: lay and ecclesiastical law
5. Roman law, authority and creative citation
Part III. Implications:
6. Custom in lawbooks and records of legal practice
7. Dynamic text: dialectic, manuscript culture and customary law
8. Implications of circulating text: crafting a French common law
Conclusion: lasting model and professional community

About the author: 

Ada Maria Kuskowski is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interdisciplinary approach weaves together history, law and literary approaches to understand how legal cultures developed in Europe. This is her first book.

More information can be found here.  


SYMPOSIUM Livatino. Il giudice al passo con i tempi - 5 dicembre 2022 - Chiesa della SS. Trinità, Napoli

18 November 2022

REMINDER, LECTURE SERIES: Société d'Histoire du Droit - Paris, 2022-2023


Les séances ont lieu à la Salle des Conseils de l’Université Panthéon-Assas, 12 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris.

More information is available on the website of the Société d'Histoire du Droit, here.

JOB: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Oral History and Digital Humanities (University of Leeds) (DEADLINE: 6 December 2022)


(Image source: University of Leeds)

The School of Law, University of Leeds has a vacancy for a postdoctoral research fellow to be affiliated with Arts and Humanities Research Council project AH/W011298/1 Making it to the Registers: Documenting Migrant Carers’ Experiences of Registration and Fitness to Practise. The contract will be fixed term for a two-year period commencing 1 March 2023.

Making it to the Registers is an interdisciplinary research collaboration between the University of Leeds and the University of Bedfordshire, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Led by Professor Marie-Andrée Jacob (PI, Leeds), Dr Priyasha Saksena (Co-I, Leeds), and Dr Nasreen Ali (Co-I, Bedfordshire), the project was conceived in collaboration with the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO). BAPIO is an organisation with 25 years of experience in lobbying for and supporting migrant doctors and nurses from Asia and Europe to work professionally in the UK. 

The project seeks to interrogate the lived dimensions of the regulation of global, migrant carers. It focuses on how professional regulation impacts the creation and maintenance of the professionalised healthcare workforce in the UK. Specifically, the project will unpack the gate-keeping functions performed by two regulatory tools, registration and fitness to practise, appraising their impact on the experiences of migrant carers, in both historical and contemporary perspectives. 

Phase 1 of the project involves archival research to generate knowledge about the ways in which regulatory tools for overseas-trained healthcare workers were enacted, modified, and used by professional regulators. Phase 2 will build on archival insights to investigate current experiences of migrant healthcare workers with the systems of professional regulation in the UK through interviews conducted in collaboration with BAPIO. Phase 3 will involve the dissemination of the findings of the research through a series of user-engagement activities, including the creation of a digital archive of interviews and a digital exhibition of meaningful objects, the publication of academic articles and policy briefs, the organisation of academic symposia and public-facing activities such as sharing events with migrant healthcare workers and youth theatre.

Based at the University of Leeds, you will be working with the project team, in an open and collaborative environment supportive of your academic and career development.  You will conduct archival research, interview participants, and create a digital archive of interviews.  You will contribute intellectually to the development of the project, produce research outputs, and help coordinate research and outreach events.  

With a PhD (or near completion) in law, humanities or social sciences, you will have experience and knowledge in oral history, archival research and/or digital humanities methods and be an excellent communicator.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: Professor Marie-Andrée Jacob, Project PI ( or Dr Priyasha Saksena, Project Co-I (

More information about application requirements and the form can be found here:

17 November 2022

BOOK: Robert TRAVERS, Empires of Complaints: Mughal Law and the Making of British India, 1765–1793 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 314 pp., ISBN 9781009123389, £75


(image source: Cambridge University Press)

Book description: 
In this deeply researched and revealing account, Robert Travers offers a new view of the transition from Mughal to British rule in India. By focusing on processes of petitioning and judicial inquiry, Travers argues that the East India Company consolidated its territorial power in the conquered province of Bengal by co-opting and transforming late Mughal, Persianate practices of administering justice to petitioning subjects. Recasting the origins of the pivotal 'Permanent Settlement' of the Bengal revenues in 1793, Travers explores the gradual production of a new system of colonial taxation and civil law through the selective adaptation and reworking of Mughal norms and precedents. Drawing on English and Persian sources, Empires of Complaints reimagines the origins of British India by foregrounding the late Mughal context for colonial state-formation, and the ways that British rulers reinterpreted and reconstituted Persianate forms of statecraft to suit their new empire. 

Table of contents: 


1. Petitioning, taxation and law in eighteenth century Bengal: the context for empire

2. Recasting Mughal law: company justice after 1772

3. Zamindari succession disputes and Persianate Hindu law 

4. 'At the Durbar' in Calcutta: Banians, revenue farming, and the politics of landed debt

5. A jagirdar's lament: an Indo-Persian historian's appeal to the British empire

6. Conclusion: the making and remaking of a colonial judicial state (c. 1780-1793) 

Select bibliography

About the author: 

Robert Travers is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University. 

More information can be found here.  











16 November 2022

BOOK: Dimitri VAN DEN MEERSSCHE, The World Bank's Lawyers: The Life of International Law as Institutional Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022), 336 pp., ISBN 9780192846495, £80


(image source: Oxford University Press)

Book description: 

The World Bank's Lawyers provides an original socio-legal account of the evolving institutional life of international law. Informed by oral archives, months of participant observation, interviews, legal memoranda, and documents obtained through freedom-of-information requests, it tells a previously untold story of the World Bank's legal department between 1983 and 2016. This is a story of people and the beliefs they have, the influence they seek, and the tools they employ. It is an account of the practices they cling to and how these practices gain traction, or how they fail to do so, in an international bureaucracy. Inspired by actor-network theory, relational sociologies of association, and performativity theory, this ethnographic exploration multiplies the matters of concern in our study of international law (and lawyering): the human and non-human, material and semantic, visible and evasive actants that tie together the fragile fabric of legality.

In tracing these threads, this book signals important changes in the conceptual repertoire and materiality of international legal practice, as liberal ideals were gradually displaced by managerial modes of evaluation. It reveals a world teeming with life—a space where professional postures and prototypes, aesthetic styles, and technical routines are woven together in law's shifting mode of existence. This history of international law as a contingent cultural technique enriches our understanding of the discipline's disenchantment and the displacement of its traditional tropes by unexpected and unruly actors. It thereby inspires new ways of critical thinking about international law's political pathways, promises, and pathologies, as its language is inscribed in ever-evolving rationalities of rule.

Table of contents: 

1:Introduction: The Life of International Law - On People, Practices, and Performances
Part I: Ibrahim Shihata - The Performative Power of Liberal Legalism
2:The 'Force of Law' Under Construction - Sensibility, Authority, Performativity
3:The 'Force of Law' Performed - The Institutional Politics of Legal Practice
Part II: Roberto Dañino - Cosmopolitanism and the Culture of the 'How to' Lawyer
4:Law's Metamorphosis - Rupture, Reconstruction, and Recollection
5:'Of course we are bound by those' - Dañino's Human Rights Agenda
Part III: Anne-Marie Leroy - The General Counsel as 'High-Level Administrator'
6:Law as Management - An Agenda of Cultural Change
7:'A new normative architecture' - Risk, Resilience and Deformalization
8:Conclusion: Assembling the Actants of International Law

About the author: 

Dimitri Van Den Meerssche is a Fellow at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences and Lecturer in Law at Queen Mary University of London. He holds a PhD degree from the EUI and master degrees from NYU School of Law and Ghent University (summa cum laude). His work draws on socio-legal methods to study the law of international organizations and, more recently, the ways in which big data and AI are reshaping global security governance. Dimitri has widely published and taught in different areas of international law. He is a founding committee member of the ESIL Interest Group on International Law and Technology. 

More information can be found here.  



15 November 2022

ESCLH BLOG TEAM: New composition (as of 15 November 2022) - How to reach us - How to suggest posts


(Image: Charles V's coat of arms, representing the various entities of the composite Spanish/Burgundian monarchy, as well as the imperial eagle, Oudenaarde town hall (Belgium))

1) Following our call for bloggers, the ESCLH is glad to announce the new composition of the Blog team, in alphabetical order:

  • Piotr Alexandrowicz, postdoctoral researcher at the Poznań Society for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences, received his PhD in law in 2019 at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He holds MA in law, theology, and canon law. His research interest focuses on the influences of canon law on civil law in the late medieval and early modern periods.

  • Arthur Barrêto de Almeida CostaPhD fellow in Theory and History of Law at the Università degli Studi di Firenze and researches the history of 19th and 20th public law in Brazil in a comparative perspective. Master and Bachelor of law at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Member of Studium Iuris - Research Group on the History of Legal Culture (CNPq/UFMG).

  • Filip Batselé, PhD fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at Ghent University and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, specializing in the history of international investment law. He is also an affiliated researcher at the Research Group Contextual Research in Law (VUB). He studied law at Ghent University, the University of Glasgow (Erasmus+) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (LL.M.).

  • Marco Castelli, PhD candidate in Legal Studies / History of Law at the University of Milan (Department 'Cesare Beccaria') and lawyer. He also collaborates with the research group in legal history at the University of Brescia. His main field of interest is the rediscovery of Aristotle's Natural Philosophy and its effects on Medieval legal theory and political thought.

  • Stefano Cattelan, postdoctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Research Group Contextual Research in Law). His current project “In the Shadow of the Great Powers: Freedom of the Sea and Neutrality in the 18th Century” is funded by a Carlsberg Foundation Internationalisation Fellowship (2022-2023). He obtained the degree of Master of Law (University of Trento, 2017) and of Doctor in Law (Aarhus University, 2020). His main field of interest is the history of public international law between the 16th and 18th centuries, with a focus on its maritime dimension.

  • Frederik Dhondt, associate professor of legal history at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Research Group Contextual Research in Law/Head of the Department of Interdisciplinary Legal Studies) is the ESCLH's director of communications and coordinates the team. He studied Law (Ghent), History (Ghent/Paris-Sorbonne) and International Relations (Sciences Po Paris), before obtaining his PhD in Law (Ghent, 2013) and was a visiting researcher in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Paris and Geneva as well as a visiting professor in Amsterdam (VU). From 2016 to 2020, he was also a visiting lecturer at the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on the use of legal arguments in diplomatic correspondence and in constitutional debates (18th and 19th centuries). 

  • Priyasha Saksena, lecturer in law at the University of Leeds. She is a graduate of Harvard University (SJD) and National Law School of India University (BA LLB). Prior to joining the University of Leeds, she was a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History. Her work focuses on the historical development of legal concepts and institutions within the British Empire. Her monograph, The Many Meanings of Sovereignty: International Law and the Princely States of Colonial South Asia, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2023. 

  • Kamila Staudigl-Ciechowicz, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna (Department of Legal and Constitutional History) and lecturer and research fellow at the University of Regensburg (Chair of Private Law, German and European Legal History and Canon Law). She studied Law (Vienna) and Canon Law (LL.M., Vienna), received her doctorate in Law (Vienna, 2017, thesis on legal history of the Viennese University) and is currently writing her habilitation in private law history. She specialises in European legal and constitutional history, with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular the interwar period. 

2) We reiterate our thanks to the loyal readers and followers of our blog, which attracts an impressive number of internet users. The blog can be followed in several ways:

3) Reaching us with proposals for posts is quite easy: the Gmail account of the blog ( is the unique channel to suggest an announcement. We prefer this channel, rather than one-on-one e-mails to the persons listed above. 

We gently remind our readers of the instructions set out in the right-hand column of the blog. Proponents need to provide us with a file in MS Word and an image. Bloggers are volunteers and have to organize their time efficiently. We would -of course- appreciate drafts formatted according to our own bibliographical template, as some of you have already done in the past.