The National Archives, Kew : Workshops Legal History

The Legal Records Team at The National Archives is delighted to announce that bookings are now open for the following onsite records workshops for postgraduate students and researchers seeking to use the legal records held at The National Archives.

11 June 2024 – Medieval Legal Records
8 June – Early Modern Legal Records 1: Central Common Law Courts and Regional Justice
19 June – Early Modern Legal Records 2: Equity and Conciliar Courts
25 June – High Court of Admiralty
16 July – Modern Legal Records: Civil Justice and Society in England and Wales, c. 1840-1985
17 July – Modern Legal Records: Criminal Justice and Society in England, 1775-2000

Fully funded PhD Position on the History of European Union Law

The Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt/Main is now looking to recruit for 1 October 2024, or sooner a Doctoral Student (m/f/div) for the Fellowship project ‘The History of European Union Employment Law’, under the supervision of Professors Thorsten Keiser and Stefan Vogenauer, dealing with the following topic: Equal pay in the Benelux countries in light of European law (1952-1973). Deadline: 8.4.2024.

Edinburgh Roman Law Group: Peter Candy 11 March

What was the actio oneris aversi?

Moot Court Room, Old College 17.30-19.00

D.19.2.31 contains a reply to a question of law which is attributed in Justinian’s Digest to the late-Republican jurist P. Alfenus Varus. At the beginning of the text, we are told that several people had delivered grain under contract to a certain Saufeius which was shot into common pile in the hold of his ship; and that after Saufeius had returned grain to one of them the ship went down. The question is asked if the others can proceed against Saufeius in respect of their share of the grain by raising an action for onus aversum. In a previous article, I studied the text for its stylistic qualities, especially its chiastic structure and the inferences about authorship that could be made on that basis. In this paper I intend to investigate further the nature and content of the otherwise unattested actio oneris aversi. To do so I divide the discussion into three parts: (1) Representing the text in light of my conclusions about authorship; (2) Additional considerations about the logical and rhetorical structure of the responsum; and (3) Investigation of the nature and content of the actio oneris aversi by comparison with the commission of the English tort of conversion in so-called ‘Wheat cases’. My conclusion is that the action lay for ‘conversion’ of a cargo, possessing similar features to an action for conversion in the common law.

About the speaker

Dr Peter Candy‘s research interests include Roman legal and economic history, with a focus on the relationship between economic development and legal change during the last centuries of the Roman Republic. He completed a PhD on the historical development of Roman maritime law at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. He has published work on the character of late Roman Republican jurisprudence and will shortly publish a monograph on ancient maritime loan contracts. 

This event is hybrid.

Register to attend online.

Register to attend in person

Peter Chiene Lecture, Xavier Prévost (Bordeaux) 10 May 2024, Usha Kasera Lecture Theatre

The expression “Legal humanism of the Renaissance” refers to the movement that emerged from the full integration of law into humanist knowledge, which began at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. Starting with a critique of medieval scholasticism for the study of legal texts, this intellectual movement proposed new methods for producing legal ideas based on an encyclopedic approach. Although there were many methodological differences between the legal scholars grouped under the banner of humanism, they shared the conception of a legal science that is not closed in on itself. Thus, they applied to law the humanist idea that knowledge forms a vast body made up of elements that may be intellectually differentiated, but which remain interrelated: the understanding of one of these elements must therefore logically call upon all those related to it. Not only did these scholars master the legal sources (Roman law, canon law, customs, royal legislation, court decisions, etc.), but they constantly referred to history and geography, philosophy and theology, philology and rhetoric, literature and poetry, mathematics and architecture, agronomy and astronomy.

The encyclopedism of Renaissance humanist jurists then caused an upheaval in the understanding of law, while participating massively in the production of knowledge beyond legal ideas. Presenting such an approach can contribute to the current debate which, faced with the extreme compartmentalisation of disciplines and even a growing separation between legal branches, is calling for greater use of interdisciplinarity.

About the Speaker

Xavier Prévost is an associate of the faculties of law, associate of economics and management, paleographic archivist (graduate of the École des chartes) and a former student of the École Normale Supérieure of Cachan. Xavier Prévost is a junior member of the Institut universitaire de France (promotion 2020) and professor of legal history at the University of Bordeaux, where he directed the Montesquieu Research Institute (IRM – UR 7434) from 2016 to 2022 and chaired the legal history section from 2021 to 2023. Since December 2023, he has been first vice-president of section 03 (History of law and institutions) and vice-president of group 1 (Law and political science) of the National Council of Universities. His research concerns law and legal knowledge during the Renaissance and questions, more particularly, the emergence of legal modernity.

Register here: Eventbrite



Morris Cohen Student Essay Competition in Legal History

The Legal History and Rare Books (LH&RB) Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), in cooperation with The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., announces the Fourteenth Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition. The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School.

The competition is designed to encourage scholarship and to acquaint students with the AALL and law librarianship, and is open to students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, and related fields. Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The winner will receive a $1,000.00 prize from The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., and will be invited to present their paper to AALL members via webinar.

Winning and runner-up entries will be invited to submit their entries to UNBOUND: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books, the official journal of LH&RB. Past winning essays have gone on to be accepted by journals such as N.Y.U. Law Review, American Journal of Legal History, University of South Florida Law Review, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, and French Historical Review.

For details, entry form and instructions go to the LH&RB website. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., May 15, 2024 (EDT).

Please direct questions to Linda K. Tesar, Chair, Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition Committee,

Jean-Louis Halpérin: Medal CNRS

It is a pleasure to see that our distinguished colleague, Jean-Louis Halpérin, has been awarded the silver medal of the CNRSS. Professor Halpérin is a truly outstanding scholar, both creative in his own work, as well a great facilitator and encourager of the work of others. These medals are awarded for the importance, quality and originality of the work of the recipients. Professor Halpérin has gained his in “Sciences du Droit”. He is professor of law at the Ecole normale supérieure as well as Director of the Centre de Théorie et Analyse du Droit at Université Paris Nanterre. See medallists.

From his early work on the Revolutionary through to the Napoleonic period, Professor Halpérin has been at the forefront of legal-historical scholarship. In recent years he has been a major developer of ideas of global legal history.

From an Edinburgh perspective, it is worth noting that Professor Halpérin delivered the peter Chiene Lecture in 2015. See here

Dicey + 100

In 2022, the anniversary of the death of Albert Venn Dicey, the University of Oxford held a commemorative conference at All Souls that in part reassessed his legacy and explored hitherto under-researched aspects of his life and oeuvre. Revised versions of the papers given have now been published by Intersentia, edited by the organisers, Andrew Dickinson, Timothy Endicott, and Wolfgang Ernst. Given that your blogger was one of the contributors, discussing Dicey’s teaching at Oxford, this is not the place for a review. But one hopes the volume will encourage further research, as one realises that in some ways Dicey is so familiar that he has become ignored and in some ways unknown. He exists only as a kind of caricature, not as a scholar and a man in a rounded picture. This is so despite, for example, the relatively recent, excellent, biography by Mark Walters, who has contributed a chapter here. But it is important to remember that Dicey’s work on Private International law is still being printed in new editions, primarily for the use of legal practitioners, while his work on the Law of the Constitution is available in a variety of editions, as well as in the Oxford Edition of Dicey edited by J. W. F. Allison.


The Dicey 100 + consists of:


Part I. Dicey in is Time and Our Time

“Dicey at Oxford”, John W. Cairns

“Dicey on Higher and Legal Education”, Andrew Dickinson

Dicey and Analytical Jurisprudence”, Timothy Endicott

Part II. Dicey and the Constitution

“Dicey’s Forgotten Constitution”, Alison L. Young

Dicey on Legality and Equality”, Mark D. Walters

“Dicey, Parliamentary Sovereignty, and the Principle of Legality”, Hasan Dingier

Part III. Dicey and the Conflict of Laws

“Dicey’s Conflict of Laws Then and Now”, Lord Collins of Mapesbury 

“Reading Dicey’s Private International Law in the Penumbra: Empire and Gender”, Roxana Banu

Part IV Dicey and Political Thought

“Dicey’s Idea of the Rule of Law in Historical Context”, James Kirby

“Wordsworth and Dicey: Poet as Political Prophet”, Sally Bushell

“Revolution and the Rule of Law: Dicey on Irish Home Rule”, Marc Mulholland





Ph.D. Opportunities in Legal History, University of St Andrews

Two fully funded PhD studentships are available at the University of St Andrews to work as part of the ERC-selected/UKRI-funded project ‘Communicating the Law in Europe, 1500-1750’, under the supervision of the Principal Investigator, Dr Arthur der Weduwen. The project investigates how law was communicated in early modern Europe (c. 1500-1750), and what impact this had on European society.

The PhD studentships will begin in September 2024, will be based in the School of History at the University of St Andrews (with significant periods to be spent on research abroad), and will last for four years. 

These PhD studentships offer the successful applicants the exciting prospect of combining the pursuit of an independently researched thesis exploring a particular dimension of legal and political communication in early modern Europe with the opportunity to work collaboratively within a research team and to contribute to co-authored publications and the organisation of scholarly conferences.

The ‘Communicating the Law in Europe, 1500-1750’ project has been awarded a grant of €1.4 million by the European Research Council and is funded as part of the UKRI’s Frontier Research Guarantee scheme.  It will run for five years, from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028, and is led by the Principal Investigator, Dr Arthur der Weduwen.

The COMLAWEU project is the first to investigate comparatively how law was communicated to citizens and subjects by the authorities in early modern Europe (1500-1750). It pursues an original comparative study of the publication and circulation of municipal, regional and national law, encompassing oral communication, ceremonial proclamations and the employment of criers, as well as the affixing, distribution and sale of law texts, in manuscript and printed form.

Based on extensive archival research, this project will seek to establish for the first time to what extent the increasing body of law that was issued in early modern Europe was made publicly available, and in what forms.

The project seeks to add a new and much-needed perspective to the study of European politics in a critical era of state formation, framing the communication of law as an essential stabilising factor in an era of highly participatory but undemocratic politics.

This project will offer multiple comparative frameworks through which the communication of law will be studied, including Protestant and Catholic states, urban and rural areas, and empires, national kingdoms and city-states.

With the aid of such a comparative lens, it is an overarching aim of the project to analyse how the public dissemination of law shaped early modern civic society and influenced political participation and accountability.

The project team, led by the PI and comprising two postdoctoral research assistants and two PhD students, will work collaboratively, using a series of comparative case studies based on European regions to explore and reveal the complex ways in which European authorities communicated with their citizens and subjects.

Further details about this opportunity can be found on the School of History postgraduate funding page.

Turin Humanities Programme Post-Doc: Slavery and Serfdom

Call for Applications: Turin Humanities Programme 2024-2026, “Slavery and Serfdom in Europe and the New World: Debates in the Early Modern Period”

“Slavery and Serfdom in Europe and the New World: Debates in the Early Modern Period”

Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura della Compagnia di San Paolo (hereinafter “Fondazione 1563”) has since 2013 supported research and advanced training in the field of the humanities.

In a wider effort to pursue this goal, in 2020 Fondazione 1563 has launched the Turin Humanities Programme, a research initiative that allows junior scholars to work on interrelated research projects under the guidance of especially appointed Senior Fellows.

THP aims at promoting two-year research projects about relevant global history topics. Fondazione 1563 is now pleased to launch the fourth call for applications to award up to 4 two-year fellowships for advanced studies on Slavery and Serfdom in Europe and the New World: Debates in the Early Modern Period.

The Director of Studies for this programme (2024-2026) will be Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Voltaire Foundation, Professor of European Enlightenment Studies, and Fellow of St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford.

For information and questions please email:

Applicants are invited to submit research projects of a maximum of 3000 words, plus bibliography. Projects are expected to engage with one or more aspects of the general research framework Slavery and Serfdom in Europe and the New World: Debates in the Early Modern Period.

Candidates are invited to propose projects dealing with the questions surrounding slavery and serfdom in Europe and the New World within the timeframe of the Early Modern period, defined here broadly as stretching from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth.

See further:

Call for Applications: Turin Humanities Programme 2024-2026, “Slavery and Serfdom in Europe and the New World: Debates in the Early Modern Period” – Voltaire Foundation (

The deadline for applications is February 12th, 2024, 11:00 PM (CET).

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