Call for Papers – Death, law and property in Medieval Europe

Call for Papers

Conference "Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Medieval Europe"
Helsinki, 14-15 March 2013

In medieval and early modern Europe society, the Grim Reaper, death, was a recurrent guest. Leaving emotional aspects aside, the omnipresence of death required people to prepare for the possibility of dying. The religious worldview revolved around thought of salvation based on individual merit – sins and good deeds. Souls were destined either to heaven or hell, depending on how the individual had behaved during life.

When a person feared that death was close, he or she turned his thoughts to arranging his soul for afterlife. Confession of one’s sins, contrition and making amends were part of the penitential process.

In addition to the confession of sins, praying for the dying and extreme unction belonged to the religious deathbed rituals in medieval and early modern Europe. Sudden death was perceived as a threat because the soul could not be prepared for afterlife. Priests had their own handbooks advising them how to approach a person on his sickbed and how to console him and his family. In the Middle Ages, there developed a whole genre of literature, the ars moriendi, instructing people about the proper way of dying.

Apart from the soul, property issues were also a major concern for the dying. How were the wealth and family resources to be distributed after death? Was something to be invested in good deeds: donations ad pios usus, alms, masses, etc.? Law and custom provided a plethora of ways for transferring property to the surviving relatives and the next generation (e.g., statutory inheritance, wills and testaments, marriage contracts, primogeniture, entails and fideicommissa). The strategies of heirship varied in time and place. Preparing for death could also mean worrying about the memory and postmortem reputation of the dying. This could be done for example by preparing or commissioning works of art, effigies, memorials or literary works.

The conference "Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Medieval Europe" will investigate and explore the various ways and strategies medieval and early modern people used in attempting to prepare themselves and others – body, soul, property and memory – for the inevitable and omnipresent death. Although the timeframe is historical in order to achieve certain consistency, the conference aims at interdisciplinarity. Papers dealing with religious, legal, visual, cultural, political, and philosophical perspectives on preparing for death are welcome.

Those interested in giving a twenty-minute presentation at the conference are requested to submit a paper proposal (about 200 words) by 30 October 2012 to Mia Korpiola (mia.korpiola[at], Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Richard H. Helmholz (Chicago Law School) gives a plenary lecture:

“Property Postmortem: Legal Instruments and Inheritance Strategies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe” (preliminary title). Docent Otfried Czaika (Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm) gives a plenary lecture: “Dying

Unprepared: Sudden Death in Early Modern Swedish Funeral Sermons.”


Mia Korpiola

Doctor of Laws, Adjunct Professor/Reader (Docent) Legal History Research Fellow Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies P.O. Box 4 (Fabianinkatu 24)

00014 University of Helsinki



phone:  + 358 9 191 22320

fax:    + 358 9 191 24509


Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History, University of Edinburgh, School of Law

School Of Law: Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History

Applications are invited for a Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Legal History from candidates with an interest in European Legal History, broadly conceived, preferably with a research and teaching interest in the law and legal culture of the Renaissance/Early Modern period.

The candidate will be expected to contribute to established programmes and to help develop new courses in this area at undergraduate and postgraduate level, in particular for the LL.M. in History and Philosophy of Law, as well as undertake doctoral supervision.

The candidate will also be expected to further the international reputation of the School in Legal History, in a way compatible with the aims and objectives of the Centre for Legal History. The candidate need not have a primary degree in law, but will be expected to have a relevant PhD or equivalent research experience, with a proven record of research and publication.

The position is available from 1st January, 2013. Appointment will be on an open-ended basis.

Salary Scale: £37,012-£44,166 (UOE8) / £46,846-£52,706 (UOE9)

Find out more and apply at

SCOTTISH LEGAL HISTORY GROUP – 32nd Annual Conference, Saturday 6 October 2012

The 32nd Annual Conference and AGM of the Scottish Legal History Group will be held in the Reading Room of the Advocates’ Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh, on Saturday 6th October 2012. All welcome.


10.30  Coffee

11.00  First Session

Mr W.W. Scott
‘William de Crannystoun, notary public, c. 1395-1425, and some contemporaries’.

 Dr John D. Ford, University of Cambridge
 'William Welwod's Treatises on Maritime Law'.


12.30  Sherry. Break for Lunch.

2.15  Second Session

Annual General Meeting … to be followed at 2.30 approximately by:

  Ms Harriet Cornell
  'Social Control and the Courts of Haddingtonshire: 1610-1640'.

3.30  Third Session

 Dr  Dan Carr, University of Edinburgh
 ‘Lord Kames in America’.

 Dr Andrew Mackillop, University of Aberdeen
 'Scots Law & Scottish Identities in the Eastern British Empire, c.1750-1815'.

5.00  Close
Thirty-Second Annual Conference – Saturday 6th October 2012
The 32nd Annual Conference and AGM of the Scottish Legal History Group will be held in the Reading Room of the Advocates’ Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh, on Saturday 6th October 2012. All welcome.
All those wishing to attend are requested to send the attached form together with the Conference fee of £10.00 to the Secretary, Dr John Finlay, at the address indicated.

Conference Registration
Most participants receive this intimation by email. If you have received it by post but would prefer or are willing to receive it by email in future, please provide your email address below.

When replying please provide your current email and postal addresses:
– If you are subscribing for the first time
– If these have changed in the past year
– If there has been a long interval since your last subscription

Thirty-second Annual Conference – Saturday 6th October 2012

To:  Dr John Finlay, School of Law, The Stair Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ.

Please enroll me for the above Conference. I enclose my Conference Fee of £10.00 (cheques payable to ‘The Scottish Legal History Group’).


Email address…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Workshop on the Scottish Sedition Trials: Stirling, Thursday, 14 June 2012

Our colleagues at Stirling are working towards an online edition of the Scottish sedition and treason trials of the 1790s – inspired by John Barrell and Jon Mee's Pickering and Chatto set of English trials, 1792-4. These trials are of great interest, and often mentioned, particularly by historians of the left, but are deserving of much further study. This project therefore looks set to be of great importance. The preliminary day is planned as follows:

9.30-10am   Coffee

10.00-11.15am Creating an online edition – Dr Alastair Mann and Dr Sarah Bromage.

11.15-11.45am Coffee

11.45am-1.00pm   Political issues – Dr Gordon Pentland

1.00-2.00pm   Lunch

2.00-3.15pm  Legal issues – Professor Lindsay Farmer

3.15-4.00pm Tea

4.00-5.00pm   The Scottish Trials for Sedition and Treason, 1793-8 – Professor Hector McQueen

5.00p.m. Reception 

For further information, please contact Gavin Little at

This promises to be a good day. Your blogger is particularly excited having many years ago reviewed Alan Wharum's The Treason Trials, 1794 for the SLT. They involve interesting characters such as Thomas Mure, a Bollinger Bolshevik if ever there was one, and the learned Lord Braxfield. Much modern understanding, however, is filtered through the prejudices concealed in the seductive writings of Lord Cockburn. More proper study is needed.



Call for Papers: Law and Disputing in the Middle Ages

Law and Disputing in the Middle Ages

Carlsberg Academy Conference on Medieval Legal History IX
Copenhagen 9-11 May 2012

The conference is the ninth in an interdisciplinary series which aims at discussing new approaches to the study of medieval law and legal practice. The first conference, held in 2003, examined the question of how ‘Nordic' the medieval Scandinavian law codes actually were.

The upcoming ninth conference in this series continues along these interdisciplinary lines to embrace various aspects of the broad theme of the interrelation between law and the handling of conflicts inside and outside courts in medieval societies. The purpose of the conference is to enlighten and discuss how, in different periods and places in medieval Europe, legal conflicts were solved.

At the conference various thematic stands as for instance the relationship between litigation and court practice, disputed authorities, disputes solving in the learned law and the relationship between written law and custom.

To see the programme and register, visit Law and Disputing in the Middle Ages:

Opportunities for Doctoral Research in Frankfurt



The Blog is delighted to see that there are interesting opportunities for young graduates in (canon) law, history, philology, philosophy or theology to be employed as a doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History in Frankfurt. These positions are within the research group ‘Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period’. Four positions are available from 1 August 2012 for doctoral candidates who are interested to work on any subject that is related to the overall theme of the research group.

It is important to note that the deadline for submissions is 1 April 2012. This is short notice; but these are excellent opportunities. The Blog would urge any qualified person to apply. Formal details are pasted in below.


Doctoral Research Fellows (Junior Research Group)

LOEWE Research Focus

Doktorandenstellen (Nachwuchsgruppe)

The Junior Research Group "Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period" within the LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" (Frankfurt am Main) is seeking to employ, to start 01.08.2012,

four Doctoral Research Fellows (E 13/2 TVöD-Bund)

settled at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, for a limited period to 31.12.2014.

The members of the Junior Research Group will be expected to collaborate with the other participants in the LOEWE Research Focus, which is a joint, interdisciplinary research project supported by the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main. The LOEWE Project is funded as part of the State of Hessen's Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence. The LOEWE Research Focus pursues the interdisciplinary and international analysis of conflicts and conflict resolution from a comparative, historical, and contemporary perspective.

Junior Research Group Project:
The Junior Research Group aims to investigate the role played by canonists and theologians in the resolution of conflicts in the early modern age (ca. 1450-1650). The involvement of the Catholic Church in legal affairs, in the regulation of business and in dispute settlement will be examined from various perspectives: jurisprudence, court practice and ethnology. The actual PhD project that successful applicants end up doing will be worked out in dialogue between the doctoral fellow and the junior research group leader. Particularly welcomed are projects on the northern European roots of the so-called School of Salamanca (e.g. Conrad Summenhart), on the use of the legal teachings of the Catholic theologians in practice (e.g. the Jesuit colonies in South America), on the relationship between forum internum and forum externum (e.g. within the Church's own jurisdiction or regarding the influence of penitential literature on the decisions of the English Court of Chancery). However, candidates are invited to submit any research proposal that fits into the main theme of the Junior Research Group "Canon Law, Moral Theology and Conflict Resolution in the Early Modern Period".

Job Requirements and Role:
The applicant will hold a master's degree (M.A.) or equivalent qualification in Law, History, Theology, Philology, Philosophy, Anthropology or a related discipline. Reading knowledge of Latin is required. The Doctoral Fellow will develop his/her own research project under the supervision of the Junior Research Group Leader. He/she is an independent scholar eager to work in an international and interdisciplinary environment. Willingness to collaborate with the other members of the Junior Research Group and the other participants in the LOEWE-Project is essential. We offer a stimulating environment for high quality research, a large support team and career development services.

The LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" attempts to employ a balanced proportion of female staff. We therefore particularly encourage women to apply.

Furthermore, the LOEWE Research Focus "Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution" makes efforts to employ severely disabled people. We explicitly hope to receive applications from the severely disabled.

Please send the electronic version of your application to <> , by 01.04.2012.

Louisiana: 200 Years of Federal District Courts

Louisiana became a State of the Union in 1812, so this year is the bicentenary not only of this event, but of the establishment of the Federal Courts in Louisiana. For a copy of the Constitution, see,15852.

On this side of the Atlantic, it is worth remembering that this was the year of the outbreak of war between Britain and the U.S.A, declared not long after the new constitution was adopted, one of the greatest battles of which was that of New Orleans on 8 January, 1815 (the combatants unaware that peace had been concluded on 24 December 1814). The senior British Commander during the War was the Scotsman, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, who landed the force that burned Washington, and whose bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore led to the writing of the "Star-Spangled Banner". Wellington attributed the failure of the British campaign at New Orleans to Cochrane. Whatever the justice of these comments, it did not harm Cochrane's career. The episode raises interesting speculations about what might have happened had the British succeeded in this campaign, now that war in Europe was ended.

A Conference organised on the afternoon of 13th April in New Orleans on the theme of "Tracking Louisiana's Legal Heritage: Celebrating 200 Years of the Federal District Courts in Louisiana" marks this event. The interestngly varied programme is as follows:

Warren M. Billings, PhD, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, University of New Orleans and Visiting Professor of Law, the College of William and Mary Law School – Moderator

Professor Richard Campanella, Associate Director, Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University – "A Walk Through the Streets of New Orleans at the Time of the Court's Foundation"

John Magill, M.A., Curator/Historian, The Historic New Orleans Collection – "Transient Justice: 200 Years of United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana Courthouses"

John Randall Trahan, J.D., Louis B. Porterie Professor of Law, Paul M. Hébert Law Center, Louisiana State University – "The Civilian Aspects of Louisiana Law"

Mark F. Fernandez, PhD, Professor of History, Loyola University New Orleans – "Creoles and Americans: The Cultural and Political Background to the Foundation of the Court"

Jason Wiese, Assistant Director, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection – "Andrew Jackson's Quarrel with Judge Dominick A. Hall"

Raphael Cassimere, Jr., PhD, Seraphia D. Leyda University Teaching Professor, Emeritus, University of New Orleans – "The Role of the Federal Court in the Early Civil Rights Movement in Louisiana"

Further information may be obtained from:

Camille Zeller, Attorney Conference Center
Hale Boggs Federal Building, Room 364
500 Poydras Street     
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Phone: (504) 589-7990    Fax: (504) 589-7995

In Memory of Alan Rodger: A Conference on Legal History and Roman Law, 7-8 September 2012

The Blog is delighted to note that our colleague at Glasgow, Ernie Metzger, amd David Johnston, QC, an Honorary Professor in Edinburgh, are organising a conference in memory of the late Lord Rodger at Glasgow this September. It promses to be an imortant event to commemorate this great man. Readers of the Blog are encouraged to think of attending. The Legal History at Glasgow website states:

Alan Rodger, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, wrote on legal history and Roman law for more than forty years. He was a student of David Daube at the University of Oxford, and remained an active and engaged scholar even as he pursued a career as an advocate and in government, eventually serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

There will be presentations on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, as well as a reception and dinner on the Friday evening.  The conference is being organised by Ernest Metzger, Douglas Professor of Civil Law in the University of Glasgow, and David Johnston QC, Axiom Advocates, Edinburgh.

We will keep you informed of arrangements: please send a note to if you are considering attending. In due course those who wish to attend the conference, with or without the reception and dinner, will be able to register from this site.

The speakers will include

Tiziana J. Chiusi
Professor of Civil Law, Roman Law and Comparative Law, University of Saarland

Michael Crawford FBA
Emeritus Professor, History, University College London

Robin Evans-Jones
Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Aberdeen

Joshua S. Getzler
Professor of Law and Legal History, University of Oxford

Kenneth Reid CBE, FBA, FRSE
Professor of Scots Law, University of Edinburgh

John Richardson FRSE
Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Edinburgh

Boudewijn Sirks
Regius Professor of Civil Law, University of Oxford

Tributes and Bibliography
A list of tributes to Alan Rodger, with a bibliography of his works, may be found at


Volterra Lecture, 29 February 2012

The Projet Volterra, University College London and the Institute of Historical Research Earlier Middle Ages Seminar

Wednesday, 29 February 2012, 5.30pm

(Michigan State University)

‘The recovery and use of Justinian’s Code in eleventh-century Italy’

Chancellor’s Hall,
First Floor, South Block,
Senate House,
Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HU

Followed by a reception.

‘Receiving Laws/Giving Laws’: 31st Annual Conference of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society, December 2012

Call for Papers

The 31st Annual Conference of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society, December 2012

'Receiving Laws/Giving Laws'

The 31st Annual Conference of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), 10-12 December 2012. UTS is the most centrally located law school in Sydney, situated next to Central Station, on the edge of China Town, three minutes by monorail from Sydney’s central shopping district and a short trip to the harbour by direct train or bus.


The conference theme is “Receiving Laws/Giving Laws”. It is orientated towards the movement, transmission and transformation of laws and their histories – across Empire, through time, in and between genres and disciplines. The receiving and giving of laws could be addressed in a broad range of ways. How do laws and histories translocate? By what means (doctrinal, processual, cultural) are laws transmitted and received in new places? What transformations happen as a result of this movement? Whose histories, cultures and laws appear and disappear through these transformations? What kinds of interventions can bring about ways of transforming, perceiving and transmitting the law and its histories/cultures?

The keynote speaker is Professor Philip Girard, University Research Professor and Professor of Law, History & Canadian Studies, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. There will also be a plenary panel in which three scholars will address the theme of the conference, each through a different genre of legal history: Professor Anne Orford, Melbourne Law School; Dr Katherine Biber, School of Law, UTS; Dr Damen Ward, Crown Law Office, Wellington.

The organising committee would welcome interest from legal historians from any jurisdiction. The call for papers will be open until late June. Inquiries or paper proposals – including a title, brief abstract and brief biography – should be sent to Shaunngh Dorsett, and further information is available at

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