Devil-Land: Wolfson Prize in History, 2022

Readers of this Blog are likely to be familiar with the outstandingly important work of Dr Clare Jackson of Trinity Hall on Sir George Mackenzie, and also her two important BBC 2 TV series on the Stuarts. In 2021, she published Devil-Land: England under Siege, 1588-1688. This is a fascinating and readable study. It is about a century of English history viewed from the perspective of outsiders. With all the benefit of hindsight, the century is seen as that of the rise of constitutional government and foundational for the development of the British Empire in the eighteenth century; but to outsiders England seemed a failed and failing state, unstable, with governmental failures, the execution and deposition of monarchs, subject to disaster. For continental observers, both Catholic and Protestant, it was the land not of angels but of devils. It is a great pleasure to note that this profound, ingenious and readable book has been awarded the Wolfson Prize in History, 2022




Paratext in Law Books

Your blogger has long been fascinated by paratextual material in books. He is always very disappointed if, in picking up any old work, it lacks even ownership inscriptions. Manuscript notes in printed works are always fascinating. Indeed, student lecture notes are often written in margins or interleaves of printed works used as text books. Of course, paratextual material includes the congratulatory poems, addresses, and letters often printed with the text. Your blogger once had a plan to start a research project on paratextual material in historical Scottish law books. Just as he is an inveterate reader of acknowledgements and prefaces in modern books (which he is interested to find are ignored by many), so he always looks at the printed often prefatory paratext in historical law books. Such paratext can reveal much.

Such issues have occasionally been discussed in this blog: see

Cujas: Virtual Exhibition

Over 28-29 April, the Collège de France hosted a colloquium devoted to Jacques Cujas, the noted humanist jurist, the 500th  anniversary of whose death falls this year. This was held under the auspices of the chair of Dario Mantovani. For details of the colloquium, along with recordings of the presentations made, see The colloquium was also organised by Xavier Prevost of the university of Bordeaux and Alexandra Gottely of the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire Cujas.

Linked with the Colloquium is an exhibition organised at the Bibliothèque Cujas, the Law Library of the universities of Paris. This exhibition is accessible online, with various texts relating to the colloquium. It is well worth a look, and full of fascinating stuff

As well as in Xavier Provost’s book on Cujas, a good discussion Cujas’s bibliography is found in


Legal History Position – Tilburg

The University of Tilburg is offering a post of Assistant Professor in Legal History:

The advertisement is as follows:

Tilburg University | Tilburg Law School is looking for a

Assistant Professor Legal History

Department: Public Law & Governance
Location: Tilburg
Scientific area: Legal History
Full time equivalent: 0.8 -1.0 FTE (32-40 hours per week)
Duration of employment contract: 18 months with prospect of indefinite term
Monthly full-time salary: €3,821 – €5,230 gross
Closing date vacancy: June 15, 2022

This job opportunity is for an Assistant Professor in Legal History, in the department of Public Law and Governance (PLG). PLG is a large, diverse and interdisciplinary department, home to nearly 100 academic staff and a range of legal and social science disciplines. You will develop and grow in teaching as well as research, both individually and as part of a team of ambitious scholars.

For further details see

It is interesting too see that the adoption of American titles for academics continues apace. Presumably a few years ago this would have been the position “docent”.

Jacques Cujas Quincentenary: Colloquium, Collège de France, 28-29 March

This year sees the quincentenary of the birth of Jacques Cujas, one of the most important and influential jurists of the sixteenth century; his sophisticated humanistic analysis is still valued by scholars of Roman law. It is worth noting that he exerted considerable influence in Scotland, both as a teacher and as a writer. But like all such men he is not only his own creation but that of others. Later scholars, one suspects, created the Cujas they wanted.

Over 28-29 March, Xavier Prévost of the Univeristé de Bordeaux, Dario Mantovani of the Collège de France, and Alexandra Gotteley of the Bibliothèque Cujas have organised a major colloquium at the Collège de France devoted to the great scholar, associated in most contemporaries’ minds with the university of Bourges. There are also two related exhibitions, one online or virtual and and the other physical, at the Bibliothèque Cujas. Professor Prévost has recently published a major assessment of Cujas and his work; this conference promises to develop further our understanding of the man, his work, and his general significance. 


For the programme, click on the link below…/Programme-Colloque-Cujas-2022.pdf






Research Students in Legal History Graduate

On 1 December, the first actual graduation ceremony in law since the first lockdown during the current pandemic took place at the University of Edinburgh. The December graduation is mainly that of postgraduate students. Two research students from the Centre for Legal History of Edinburgh took their degrees. Marc Campbell graduated with an LL.M. by research for a dissertation entitled “Education and Enlightenment: How the forms of education available during the Enlightenment affected the development of the legal profession in Scotland”. Kane Abry-Diaw De Baye graduated with the degree of Ph.D. having written a thesis entitled “The Construction, Sources, and Implications of Consensualism in Contract: Lesson from France”. Of course, while graduation is a time of celebration, one often as a supervisor is conscious of a loss, having worked closely with someone for some time.  The new graduates are photographed below, Marc on the left, and Kane on the right.

New Book: Fletcher, Justice and Society in the Highlands of Scotland

Readers of this blog may remember that in September 2020 we noted the award of the Degree of PhD to Charles Fletcher for his thesis entitled “Justice and Society in Strathspey: The Regality Court of Grant, c. 1690-1748”. At the start of his researches, he also participated in a small conference held when we awarded to degree of LLD, honoris causa, to Wolfgang Ernst. The Blog is delighted to note that Charles has just published a book based on a revised version of his thesis, entitled “Justice and Society in the Highlands of Scotland: Strathspey and the Regality of Grant, c. 1690-1748”. It is published by Brill, ISBN 978-90-47251-8, and appears in the series Legal History Library, as volume 53, ISSN  1874-1793. it is a fine piece of work, opening up new areas of research, and revising our understanding of heritable jurisdictions in Scotland in this era.

Cover Justice and Society in the Highlands of Scotland

CEDANT: agere per formulas. Collegium of Roman Law, January 2022

All legal historians know the importance of procedure. This is very obvious in the case of Roman law. it is therefore worth noting that the 15th cedant at Pavia is devoted to the topic, “Agere per formulas: The Forms and Dynamics of Civil Justice in the Roman World”, under the direction of Dario Mantovani (Collège de France) and Luigi Pellecchi (University of Pavia). This will be an intensive course of study over three weeks, aimed at early career scholars, and will be taught in English and Italian by notable scholars (including our own Paul du Plessis. For details, see Poster below:


Law and Life of Pompeii: 1 October 2021, Brasenose College, Oxford

The new discoveries at Pompeii and the growth of interest in the insights into law provided  by archaeology and vice versa have led to the organisation of a conference at Oxford by Peter Candy of the University of Edinburgh and Marguerite Ronin of the C.N.R.S. The meeting brings together specialists from a range of disciplines to discuss the role of Roman law in the governance of Pompeii and the everyday lives of its inhabitants.  Inspired by John Crook’s classic  ‘Law and Life of Rome’, this new initiative takes a fresh look at some challenging questions concerning the relationship between law and society in the Roman world through the lens of the archaeological and epigraphic evidence at the site of Pompeii together with the classical juristic texts. The meeting will take place on Friday 1 October at Brasenose College, Oxford, with support from the John Fell and Craven funds.
For information, please contact: &
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