About the ESCLH

Founded on 5 December 2009 (St Nicholas' Eve) in The Hague, the European Society for Comparative Legal History (ESCLH) was born out of frustration with the narrow nationalism and geographical segregation of legal history in contemporary European scholarship and professional organisations.

We take a wider view.

The Society aims, of course, to promote comparative legal history, the explicit comparison of legal ideas and institutions in two or more legal traditions. We acknowledge, too, that comparative law and legal history (internal or external) are fundamentally related. Both comparatists and legal historians are travellers: the one in space, the other in time. If only to establish context to more restricted research, legal historians should always look beyond the spatial borders and jurisdictional boundaries—including our present national legal systems—that are themselves products of the past. This isn’t merely useful background information. Legal history in general, and European legal history in particular, was fundamentally plural, a dynamic interaction of multifarious common and particular laws. Legal historians shouldn’t ignore this.

The Society also appreciates the importance of generating dialogue across national and disciplinary boundaries to achieve our goals. To accomplish this, we have established a blog, held an inaugural conference, and begun co-operation with those with shared aims.

For additional information, please contact a member of the Executive Council or write an email to:

Statutes & General Assembly
The Executive Council & Advisory Board
Membership Information
Western Legal Traditions Casebook (Hart Publishing)
Comparative Legal History Handbook (Edward Elgar Publishing)