Student success!

This blogger is delighted to report that one of our undergraduates, Mr. John Lloyd, has been awarded a summer scholarship by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. Mr. Lloyd, an undergraduate, will be conducting research together with Dr. Paul J. du Plessis on civilian authorities in Scottish court decisions of the last 30 years. Congratulations to Mr. Lloyd!

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Publication news

This blogger is delighted to announce the publication of a major work in the field of the Legal History of Louisiana and Quebec by our very own Professor John W. Cairns. As many readers of this blog will know, Professor Cairns – as a pupil of Alan Watson – has long since been interested in the study of legal transplants. This  book, a reworking of his thesis under Alan Watson, has long been hailed as a classic in the field [see the advanced praise]. We wish to congratulate Professor Cairns on making this work available in book form to a wider audience. We wish him prodigious sales!

Details on the book and how to order it to be found here.

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New Book: Eighteenth-Century Scotland

Roger Emerson, who, in 2013, won the Saltire Society prize for best biography with his work on that great Scotsman, Archibald, 3rd Duke of Argyll, is shortly to publish another work under the same imprint, humming earth. It is entitled: Neglected Scots: Eighteenth-Century Glaswegians and Women. This is a topic that plays to Emerson’s many strengths as a scholar, notably his focus on networks and intellectual and political history.



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Funded PhD Position in Roman law Advertised

This blogger has been made aware of the following funded PhD position. The project: “Palingenesie der römischen Senatsbeschlüsse”, at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, under the direction of Professor Pierangelo Buongiorno. Details here. Promotionsstipendium S1 Ausschreibung

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Stephen Bogle to Give Inaugural ‘Law after Dark’ Talk at the Maastricht European Private Law Institute

Taken from the MEPLI Blog:

Stephen Bogle is a lecturer in Private Law at the University of Glasgow and a PhD Researcher at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the emergence of a will theory of contract in Scotland, looking at how theology and natural law philosophy interacted with legal development in Scotland during the seventeenth century. Stephen’s research also touches upon obligations, including, but not limited to contract theory, legal history, and contemporary issues in consumer and commercial law.

Stephen graduated from the University of Edinburgh MA (Hons) (Mental Philosophy) (2005), the University of Strathclyde LL.B (Ordinary) (2007), the Glasgow Graduate School of Law Dip LP (2008), and the University of Edinburgh LLM by Research (Distinction) (2012). Stephen is also a qualified solicitor having trained at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP between 2008 and 2010.

What: Talk by Stephen on ‘Fairness, Just Price & Complex Markets: Lessons from Sir David Dalrymple’s Pamphlet Circa 1720′, followed by an open discussion with those in attendance. Drinks and snacks will be served.

When: 14 May 2015 (6:00pm – 8:00pm) [Please be advised that this is the first day of Ascension, which means that the Faculty of Law will be closed].

Where: Conference Room of the Café Tribunal (Tongersestraat 1, 6211 LL Maastricht).

How: If you are interested in attending this talk, email Mark Kawakami at: Please keep in mind that space will be limited.

Find out more about Stephen here


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Conferences galore …

Conferences on Roman law are like buses. They never quite arrive when you expect them. And when you least expect them, a whole bunch turn up at once. This blogger has been notified of two conferences on Roman law to be held soon in beautiful parts of the world. More details below.

Details about the SIHDA – The Premier Conferences on Roman law here: 2nd Circular – English

Details about the World Congress on Roman and Comparative law here:

World Congress ENG[final]


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Blackstone and Architecture: “Blackstone’s Commentaries: A Work of Art?” An exhibition talk by Cristina S. Martinez, Ph.D., University of Ottawa. Friday, April 17, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm, Room 122, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT.

Blackstone famously compared the English law to a Gothic Castle. Though he was writing at the start of the Gothic revival, his approach was rather classical, and, of course, Blackstone wrote about architecture before he wrote about law. It is an interesting thought that he may have used an orderly classically-trained architect’s eye to the task of organizing English law in his Commentaries.

A legal treatise as a work of art? Very few people would confuse the two, yet William Blackstone wrote about architecture before turning to law, and may have brought his orderly artist’s eye to bear in organizing the law in his landmark Commentaries on the Laws of England, an 18th-century bestseller and the most influential book in the history of Anglo-American law.

On Friday 17 April, 2015, the Yale Law Library will host a talk by Dr. Cristina S. Martinez entitled “Blackstone’s Commentaries: A Work of Art?” in conjunction with the exhibition, “250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries“, already noted in this Blog. Her talk will be accompanied by Mark Weiner’s video, “Blackstone Goes Hollywood”, which includes interviews with Mike Widener and Wilfrid Prest, co-curators of the exhibition. The talk will take place Friday, April 17, in Room 122 of Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, at 11am. It is free and open to the public. This Blog urges anyone nearby who can to attend.

The speaker, Dr Martinez, received a PhD in Art History and Law from Birkbeck College, University of London. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa and a Faculty Member of the International Summer Institute for the Cultural Study of Law at the University of Osnabrück in Germany. She is the author of the forthcoming book Art, Law, and Order: The Legal Life of Artists in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Manchester University Press) and contributed “Blackstone as Draughtsman: Picturing the Law” to the collection edited by Wilfrid Prest, Re-Interpreting Blackstone’s Commentaries (2014).

AS already noted in this Blog, the exhibit “250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries” is on display through June 2, 2015, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School. The exhibition will then travel to London, where it will be on view September through November 2015 at the library of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, and then on to Sir John Salmond Law Library, University of Adelaide, December 2015 to February.

The exhibit can also be viewed in the Rare Book Collection’s Flickr site.  For more information, contact Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian, at (203) 432-4494.

This Blog-entry is adapted from:


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Magna Carta – Again: Book Offer for readers of this Blog

This Blog has already mentioned more than once the the 800th anniversary of the grant at Runnymede of Magna Carta in 2015. One suspects it will be mentioned again a few times more before the end of the year. The story of how Magna Carta came into being, and has been interpreted since, and its impact on individual rights and constitutional developments has more twists and turns than any work of historical fiction, as the lecture of Sir John Baker recently discussed here would confirm.

Hart Publishing has just published Magna Carta Uncovered by Anthony Arlidge and Igor Judge. These are interesting authors, since Anthony Arlidge has been a Queen’s Counsel for over 30 years and in 1990 he was called upon during a case to argue the meaning of clause 40 of Magna Carta, while Igor Judge was a judge for 25 years and retired as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 2013.

This means the authors bring a different perspective from that of most historians and legal historians as they can draw on wide legal experience and forensic skills to uncover the original meaning of the liberties enshrined in Magna Carta, and to trace their development in later centuries up to the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America. By providing that the powers of the King were not unlimited, the Charter was groundbreaking, yet it was also a conservative document, following the form of Anglo-Saxon charters and seeking to return government to the ways of the Norman kings.

If readers of this Blog are interested in this book they can get a 20% discount by following the link below.


1. Who Made Magna Carta?
2. William Marshal
3. What Was Magna Carta?
4. Religion
5. Rebellion
6. Freemen
7. Law and Order
8. Trial by Peers – Clauses 39 and 40
9. Taxes
10. The King Under the Law
11. London and Other Cities
12. Commerce
13. Robin Hood and the Royal Forests
14. Wales and Scotland
15. The Charter Restored
16. Towards Democracy
17. Due Process
18. The Charter Survives
19. The Rule of Law
20. ‘Reason of State’
21. Ship Money
22. Independence of the Jury and the Right to Silence
23. Towards an Independent Judiciary
24. The Bill of Rights
25. Rebellion in America

Nov 2014 9781849465564 204pp Hbk RSP: £25 Discount Price: £20

Please click on the link below and click the ‘Pay Now’ tab. Please then write ref: BS5 in the voucher code field and click apply:

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Commercial law and ius commune in sixteenth century Low Countries

On 3 April, at the  Centre for Legal History of Edinburgh University, Prof. Dave De ruysscher of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) gave a lecture on ‘Voluntary Bankruptcy in the sixteenth century Low Countries: Municipal Law, Doctrine and Economic Policy’.  Looking at the significant differences from city to city and their legal development, De ruysscher highlighted the complex relationship between bankruptcy, economy and society. From his captivating account, an underlying question became clear: to what extent should we still rely on pan-European ius commune narratives?



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Magna Carta: Statute or Myth?

On 2 April, under the auspices of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Law and Literature at the University of St Andrews, Sir john Baker gave an excellent lecture in St Salvator’s Hall on “Magna Carta: Statute or Myth?” As one could imagine, the lecture was learned, wide ranging and elegant; but after a fascinating exploration of the historic Magna Carta of King John, Sir John focused on the 1580s, arguing that it was then that it started to take on much of the meaning currently attributed it. This can be traced through readings given in the Inns of Court by Puritan lawyers. Sir John also discussed Coke, King James and Magna Carta. Ultimately he wisely concluded, what all lawyers know, that it is not the words that make the law, it is the interpretation that matters. Ultimately it was Coke’s view that was to count.

St SalvatorsSir John

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