Third Postgraduate Conference in Comparative Legal History, 17–19 February 2022, Augsburg University (Germany)

The European Society for Comparative Legal History (ESCLH) is pleased to announce its Third Postgraduate Conference. The ESCLH invites PhD-students (beyond their first year) and post-doctoral researchers who work in the field of comparative legal history to participate in the conference. The conference will be held from 17 to 19 February 2022 at Augsburg University, Germany.

The ESCHL wants to overcome the narrow nationalism and geographical segregation of legal history in contemporary European scholarship and professional organisations. The society, thus, aims to promote comparative legal history, the explicit comparison of legal ideas and institutions in two or more legal traditions.

The Third Postgraduate Conference of the ESCLH will give advanced PhD-students and post-doctoral researchers the opportunity to present their research in the field of comparative legal history to a panel of six leading experts. Furthermore, the conference will give all participants the opportunity to build academic networks. The experts on the panel cover a broad range of subjects: Annamaria Monti (Milano), Helen Scott (Oxford), Michał Gałędek (Gdańsk),Jean-Louis Halperin (Paris), Aniceto Masferrer (Valencia), and Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde (Oslo).

The ESCLH invites advanced doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers to submit abstracts of their planned presentation. The abstract should be of no more than 300 words. It should give the title of the research project, the field of research, and personal data (full name, email address, affiliated university). Please also send a CV (no more than 4 pages). The application should be sent to:

The conference language is English and abstracts must be submitted in English. The closing date for receipt of abstracts is 15 September 2021. Twelve applicants will be selected and invited to participate in the conference. Successful applicants will be informed by 15 October 2021.

Participants are expected to cover their own travel expenses. Accommodation and catering will be provided without charge.

It is hoped that by February 2022 it will again be possible to host a conference in person and that all participants will be able to travel to Augsburg. The organizers of the conference, however, reserve the right to change to an online or hybrid format if any travel restrictions or other restrictions are in force. In order to allow all participants to make their travel arrangements, the final decision on whether the conference will be held in presence, online or hybrid will be made by 15 December 2021.

Archives parlementaires: Revolutionary Era

All working on French legal history will be aware of the great progress made in rendering secondary and primary material accessible on-line through the portals Persée, Gallica, and Cairn.Info. The parliamentary sessions of the Revolutionary Era are now being made accessible through Persée. See 


Junior Research Fellow: Centre for Reparation Research, University of the West Indies


The Centre for Reparation Research, University of the West Indies 

Applications are invited from suitably qualified persons for the position of Junior Research Fellow, The Centre for Reparation Research, The University of the West Indies, Vice-Chancellery. 

The Centre for Reparation Research at The University of the West Indies is seeking to hire a Junior Research Fellow for the period August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2023. The ideal candidate will have: 

 A Master’s Degree in History (or a related field) 

 Excellent research, analytical and proposal writing skills 

 An aptitude for research dissemination and advocacy on electronic, print and social media 

 A knowledge of critical issues in human rights & the global movement for reparatory justice 

 Excellent inter-personal skills 

 Excellent time management skills 

 Proficiency in the English Language (A working knowledge of French and/or Spanish would be an asset). 

The successful candidate will have a good work ethic, excellent interviewing skills and the ability to work on his/her own. She/he is to be a firm believer in reparation and will have to maintain confidentiality. 

The Junior Research Fellow must have a solid working knowledge of MS Word, Outlook, and Excel and database management, as he/she will collect and analyze data or to manage and update existing datasets. He/she will also conduct literature reviews or field research. 

Interested persons are being asked to send detailed applications giving i) full particulars of qualifications and experience, biodata; and ii) the names, titles, mailing and e-mail addresses, fax and telephone numbers of three (3) referees as soon as possible to: 


For further information about the Centre for Reparation Research, email The deadline for application is June 25, 2021. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. 

Legal History Post K.U. Leuven


(ref. BZP-2021-12)

Last modification : Monday, June 7, 2021

The Faculty of Law of KU Leuven, invites scholars to apply for a full‐time research professorship in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. This position is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOFZAP), established by the Flemish Government. We are looking for motivated and internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence in the field of modern legal history. The appointment is expected to start on October 1, 2022. Applications will be evaluated in parallel and independently by 1) the KU Leuven Research Council in a competitive process across academic domains and 2) the faculty advisory committee. During the first 10 years, the teaching obligations as a research professor will be limited. Afterwards, the position will be transformed into a regular professorship. This vacancy concerns modern legal history, since 1750. Preferably, the candidate should be adept in the comparative study of historical law, have a view on the Europeanisation and globalization of legal scholarship and see legal history as an integral part of legal thought. This position is imbedded in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. The unit consist of 3 professors and about 10 junior researchers. Its research focuses on European and international legal history since the 16th century, and in particular on three themes: the intellectual history of the jus commune, the history of economic law and the history of international law
It is part of the assignment of the appointed candidate to develop, within the domain of modern legal history, an international, competitive research programme, to pursue excellent scientific results at an international level and to support and promote national and international research partnerships. The candidate must meet a strong research profile or have the potential to do so. In addition, the candidate is expected to have a multidisciplinary attitude and a willingness to cooperate intensively with other researchers and research units at KU Leuven.
The candidate:
  • Is an excellent, internationally oriented researcher and develops a research programme at the forefront in the field of modern legal history since 1750 in an European, global and/or comparative perspective.
  • Strengthens existing research lines and brings complementary and/or additionally new expertise by working closely with the members of the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. 
  • Publishes at the highest scientific level in an international context.
  • Develops an own research group.
  • Supervises master students, PhD students and postdocs at a high international level. 
  • Aims to acquire competitive research funding from national and/or international agencies and submits effective research project proposals for this purpose.
  • Establishes both within KU Leuven, national and international partnerships in the context of the research programme.
  • Strives for excellence in research and provides a contribution to the international research reputation of Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History, the Faculty of Law and KU Leuven.
Although the position regards a research professorship at the start of employment, the candidate is expected to gradually contribute to state of the art teaching. 
The candidate also contributes to the pedagogic project of the faculty/university. He/she develops teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and research‐based education and makes use of the possibilities for the educational professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.
During the first five years, the teaching portfolio will extend to courses both in the history of private law and the history of public law, primarily at the bachelor level, at the campuses of Leuven and Brussels. 
Scientific, societal  and internal services (administrative and/or institutional) are also part of the assignment. 
  • A doctoral degree and at least one degree that was awarded by a faculty of law. If the candidate has recently obtained the PhD, it is important that he/she supports the research and growth potential by referring to at least one top publication or by referring to promising research projects and articles in preparation.
  • A strong research profile in the field and an indisputable research integrity.
  • The quality of research is proven by international publications in renowned journals or with reputed academic publishing houses.
  • International research experience is considered as an important advantage.
  • Demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is a plus. 
  • Organizational skills, a cooperative attitude and leadership skills within a university context.
  • Excellent proficiency of spoken and written English. The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. For candidates who do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable them to take part in administrative meetings. Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, candidates will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch resp. English to the required standard.
  • We offer full-time employment in an intellectually challenging environment. KU Leuven is an research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Our university is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, we actively collaborate with research partners in Belgium and abroad. We provide our students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.
  • Depending on qualifications and academic experience, the candidate will be appointed to or tenured in one of the grades of the senior academic staff: assistant professor, associate professor, professor or full professor. Each of these grades implies ius promovendi. In principle, junior researchers are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed as an associate professor.
  • You will work in Leuven, a historic and dynamic and vibrant city located in the heart of Belgium, within twenty minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam. The Law Faculty KU Leuven also has campuses in Kortrijk and Brussels and also provides education in Antwerp and Hasselt.
  • KU Leuven is well set to welcome foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration and administration, housing, childcare, language teaching, partner career coaching, …
  • In order to facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of 100.000 euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding and appointed for at least 50%. 
More information on the content of the job can be obtained from the academic contact person is prof. dr. Randall Lesaffer, head of the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History,
More information on the guidelines, regulations and application file is available from Ms. Kristin Vermeylen (, tel. +32 16 32 09 07) or Ms. Christelle Maeyaert (, tel. +32 16 31 41 94).
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Your blogger may add that Leuven is one of the most attractive University Towns in Northern Europe, close to Brussels and Brussels airport. It has a fine tradition in Legal History. The late Laurent Waelkens, one of the kindest men, led and developed an excellent team.

Scotland, Sweden, and the Universities of the United Provinces of the Netherlands

The significance and implications of Scots studying law abroad have long interested and intrigued your blogger. Of course, most attention has been devoted to study in the Northern Netherlands. The connections of Scotland and the Low Countries have recently been the subject of two excellent programmes by the broadcaster Billy Kay. The first one, “Will Ye gae tae Flanders”, explores the links between Scotland and Flanders, covering Flemings coming to Scotland, bringing skills and expertise, as well as Scots trading in wool, notably with Bruges, which, for a while, was the Scottish staple port. Flemish influenced the Scots language. As well as the obvious surname “Fleming”, many other Scottish names have a Flemish origin. They assimilated into all ranks of Scottish society; many Scots correspondingly settled in Bruges as merchants. This is also reflected in Scottish political links with the Duchy Of Burgundy, once Flanders became under the control of the Dukes. The second is a programme is entitled “The Scots Dutchmen”. This focuses on the move of the Scottish links to the Netherlands, to the north, to the United Provinces, for whose independence from the Spanish Habsburgs many Scots fought in the Eighty Years War, and indeed for whom many continued to fight in the Scots Brigade. Significant in this was the shared Calvinism of the Northern Netherlands and the Scots. The Scottish staple moved north eventually settling in Campvere. The northern Netherlands now became a major focus for Scottish trade and intellectual life, as many Scots traders settled there while many Scots students studied in the Universities of the United Provinces, notably Utrecht and Leiden. There Scottish students learned law, notably the Roman (or Civil) law central to Scots legal practice, theology, and medicine, all, of course, taught in the lingua franca of Latin. But students did not confine themselves to narrow disciplines, but law students might also study chemistry or mathematics, and all might takes classes in dancing, fencing, horse-riding, and other skills necessary for gentlemen, while visiting relatives serving in the Dutch army. Utrecht was popular, as Scots students could there mingle with the local Dutch gentry, who spoke French, a language much desired by these young gentlemen. The great reforming Principal of Edinburgh University, Carstares, spent years in exile in the United Provinces, and his reforms drew on his experience and knowledge of the Dutch universities. The liberal, late-Humanism of Dutch culture of this period had an important impact on the Scottish Enlightenment. These programmes, involving interviews with noted scholars on either side of the connecting North Sea, are currently available on the BBC, are recommended as a good introduction

Scottish study in the United Provinces tailed off, basically ceased, after 1750. But at its height it was noted as a phenomenon. Of course, Scots were not the only students to study there. People form many northern European countries studied in the Dutch Republic. A recent work on Swedish lawyers studying abroad raises many interesting issues in the mind of a Scottish scholar. It invites a detailed comparison, not possible here. This monograph is Learning Law and Travelling Europe: Study Journeys and the Developing Swedish Legal Profession, c. 1630-1800, published with Brill (ISBN 978-90-04-43165-2) in 2020 by Marianne Vasara-Aaltonen. She places the phenomenon of study abroad in the context of the developing Swedish state’s need for trained judges and trained administrators. One can point out among obvious differences that Scotland was not part of an absolutist state with similar bureaucratic requirements, while the legal histories of the two countries were in many ways very different. One can also note that the Swedish law students, like the Scots, rarely took degrees. Whereas many Scots who studied law in the Netherlands became advocates, this is not so clear for the Swedes. The peak of Swedish study in the United Provinces, was earlier than that of the Scots, possibly because the Thirty Years War made German universities, which attracted few Scots in this era, less appealing. This is a thought-provoking work, revealing the complexities of this phenomenon of foreign study. it is recommended.

Cambacérès Manuscripts acquired by Montpellier

The bicentenary of the death of Napoleon will no doubt lead to many discussions of the emperor and his associates. One of the most important of these was Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès (1753-1824), a notable jurist, legislator, and political survivor. In November 2020, the municipality of Montpellier acquired the manuscripts of the Mémoires of Cambacérès

The manuscripts were presented in public in March, and are to be digitised to become publicly accessible. 1999 was the two-hundredth anniversary of Cambacérès becoming minister of justice and of his support of the coup d’état of dix-huit brumaire that brought Napoleon to power as First Consul, with Cambarérès as second consul. That year saw his hitherto unpublished Mémoires appear under the editorship of Laurence Chatel de Briancion. In the same year, a colloquium was held at his home town of Montpellier, where he had held minor judicial posts under the ancien régime and his father had served as mayor. Chatel de Briancion also edited the Actes of this colloquium. These ranged over his links with Montpellier, his role as a carrier of Enlightenment, his political role in the First Empire, and his work as a legislator.

Cambacérès is one of the most interesting and intriguing figures of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Born into a family of noblesse de robe in Montpellier, he managed not only to stay afloat, but even to swim successfully, in the troubled waters of the Revolution. At the same time, his brother Étienne-Hubert rose to become Archbishop of Rouen in 1802. It is worth noting that Cambacérès played an important role in negotiating the concordat with the papacy. Under the First Empire, he became Archichancelier in 1804 and Duke of Parma in 1808 in the Napoleonic peerage. From the Revolutionary period onwards he was important in the development of legislation in France and indeed produced three projets for codification of a united law in France between 1793 and 1796, later serving as minister of justice from 1799. It was under Cambacérès’s leadership that the Code civil des français was enacted, drafted by François Tronchet, Félix Bigot de Prémaneu, Jean Portalis, and Jacques de Maleville.

The assessment of the role of Cambacérès in legal history and the transition from the ancien droit to the nouveau droit starts with Jean-Louis Halpérin’s L’Impossible Code civil (1992), which has led to a reevaluation of the subject. But Cambacérès was also important in the history freemasonry in France (see Pierre-François Pinaud, Cambacérès – Le Premier Surveillant de la of Franc-Maçonnerie impériale (2016)), as well as as a politician. 



Napoleon’s Death and Walter Scott’s birth

Today is the two hundredth anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte on St Helena. It was a remarkable life. His actions had a major impact on the future of Europe. The University of Edinburgh possesses his dining table from St Helena, bought and brought back, and then gifted to the University by an alumnus.  It is a rather typical British Georgian snap-top table in mahogany.

Napoleon’s remains were brought back to Paris in 1840 and reburied in the Hôtel des Invalides in a tomb that your blogger thinks rather excessive; but perhaps it suits the character of the man. Around the tomb are some huge marble representations of aspects of his achievements, including the Code civil

One of the strange oddities of history is that Napoleon shares his birthday with his biographer Sir Walter Scott, though the novelist was born in 1771 and Napoleon in 1769. So this year, as well as being the anniversary of Napoleon’s death is also the two-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Scott’s birth. The University of Edinburgh also owns a table connected with Scott, in this case his library table from his house in Castle Street.

In Scott’s biography, as your blogger has pointed out in an earlier blog, he criticised the Code civil, as unhistorical:

For a discussion of some of this, see the lecture given by your blogger to the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club on 17 October, 2019

Judah Benjamin, 1811-1884, new book.

All historians of the law of Louisiana know of Judah Benjamin; all historians of the law of sale in England also know of Judah Benjamin. I shall not discuss the basics of his life. There is an adequate Wikipedia entry that I lack the knowledge to praise or condemn, with its  speculations on his family life. He had a distinguished career as a lawyer and politician, and when the Civil War came, he became Attorney General and then Secretary of War and then Secretary of State for the Confederacy. After escaping at the end of the War, he eventually reached England, where he was admitted to the bar. There is no need to go further into his remarkable life. 

This month Edinburgh University Press is to publish by William C. Gilmore, The Confederate Jurist: The Legal Life of Judah P. Benjamin (ISBN 9781474482004). It focuses on his career as Jewish lawyer, U.S. Senator, Confederate statesman, political exile, leader of the English bar, and distinguished jurist.

According to EUP, this is the first biography written from a legal perspective on the public life of Judah P. Benjamin (1811–1884), a prominent figure in the common law world in the second half of the 19th century. Drawing on a range of primary source materials including newspaper articles, case law and extensive archival research in the UK and USA, it charts his rise as a lawyer first in the mixed legal system of Louisiana and then nationally. In 1853 he was the first person of Jewish heritage to be offered nomination to the US Supreme Court – an honour he declined. Benjamin was also a member of the US Senate, a slave owner and a supporter of Southern secession. In the Civil War he served continuously in the Confederate Cabinet initially as Attorney General, then as Secretary of War and finally as Secretary of State. Following the victory of the Union he fled America, a fugitive. In political exile in England he requalified as a Barrister at Lincoln’s Inn. Within a decade he had written a scholarly and long-enduring treatise on commercial law and become the undisputed advocate of choice in appeals before the House of Lords and the Privy Council. This book considers the extraordinary career of this distinguished jurist and reflects upon his legal legacy. There is a forward by Stephen C. Neff, Professor of War and Peace at the University of Edinburgh and author of Justice in Blue and Gray: A Legal History of the Civil War (Harvard University Press, 2010).

William C. (Bill) Gilmore is Professor of International Criminal Law Emeritus at the university of Edinburgh

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