22 April 2014

ARTICLE: Daniel M. Klerman, "Economic Analysis of Legal History"

(source: Legal History Blog)

Daniel M. Klerman (USC Law School) published "Economic Analysis of Legal History" on SSRN, to be published in a forthcoming work on Methodologies of Law and Economics

This essay surveys economic analyses of legal history. In order to make sense of the field and to provide examples that might guide and inspire future research, it identifies and discusses five genres of scholarship.

Law as the dependent variable. This genre tries to explain why societies have the laws they do and why laws change over time. Early economic analysis tended to assume that law was efficient, while later scholars have usually adopted more realistic models of judicial and legislative behavior that take into account interest groups, institutions, and transactions costs.

Law as an independent variable. Studies of this kind look at the effect of law and legal change on human behavior. Examples include analyses of the Glorious Revolution, legal origin, and nineteenth-century women’s rights legislation.

Bidirectional histories. Studies in the first two genres analyze law as either cause or effect. In contrast, bidirectional histories view law and society as interacting in dynamic ways over time. Laws change society, but change in society in turn leads to pressure to change the law, which starts the cycle over again. So, for example, the medieval communal responsibility system fostered international trade by holding traders from the same city or region collectively responsible. Nevertheless, the increase in commerce fostered by the system undermined the effectiveness of collective responsibility and put pressure on cities and nations to develop alternative enforcement institutions.

Private ordering. A significant body of historical work investigates the ability of groups to develop norms and practices partly or wholly independently of the state. Such norms include rules relating whaling, the governance of pirate ships, and, more controversially, medieval commercial law (the “law merchant”).

Litigation and Contracts. Law and economics has developed an impressive body of theories relating to litigation and the structure of contracts. These theories often shed light on legal behavior in former times, including contracts between slave ship owners and captains, and the suit and settlement decisions of medieval private prosecutors.

BOOK: Jean Salmon, Droit international et argumentation (Bruxelles: Bruylant, 2014)

(source: International Law Reporter)

Prof. em. Jean Salmon (Université libre de Bruxelles) published a collection of 20 articles on argumentation and international law. Althought this seems to concern prima facie legal theory in the strict sense, Salmon positions his book in the tradition of Chaïm Perelman. Reflections on legal order, judicial motivation and interpretation can be useful to comparative legal historians as well.

Abstract (in French):
L’ouvrage rassemble une vingtaine d’articles que Jean Salmon a écrits au cours des années et qui se consacrent à la place et au rôle de l’argumentation en droit international.
Ces réflexions se situent à la croisée des enseignements du philosophe Chaïm Perelman sur la rhétorique et ceux de l’internationaliste Charles Chaumont sur les contradictions en droit international.
Le droit entend conformer les faits d’existence à du devoir être ; il le fait par un langage, exprimé dans le cadre d’un système et d’institutions, qui, elles-mêmes sont dominées par les contradictions entre les valeurs et les aspirations des États, créateurs par leurs volonté commune ou antagonistes des règles qui les gouvernent.
L’ordre juridique qui en résulte n’est ni clos, ni complet ; il est lacunaire, permet l’esquive. Il est fondé fréquemment sur un langage ambigu, faisant une place importante aux notions confuses La solution des antinomies n’est pas aisée en raison de l’absence d’hiérarchie entre les règles ou entre les organes chargés de les résoudre.
La qualification unilatérale reste majoritaire, l’idéologie affichée ou occultée dominante. Dans un tel contexte, l’argumentation, quoique soumise à ces contraintes et aux rapports de force, est présente à chaque moment de la vie du droit : sa création, son interprétation, son application au cas concret ou son évolution. L’identification de l’auditoire que l’on désire convaincre, le choix des arguments susceptibles d’y parvenir sont essentiels. Néanmoins, la prétention que le raisonnement juridique est présidé par le syllogisme judiciaire est largement illusoire. La motivation du juge international, essentielle pour régler les conflits, étant elle-même une argumentation qui doit convaincre, est un exercice d’autant plus délicat.

Link to the publisher's website.

15 April 2014

NOTICE: SIHDA 2014 website

The website of the Société Internationale Fernand De Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité-SIHDA 2014 is now active and operational for the registration and the first practical information at the following web address.

14 April 2014

WORKSHOP: Recent Research in the History of Public International Law (Ghent, 23 May 2014)

On 23 May 2014, the Ghent Legal History Institute organizes a workshop on recent research in the history of public international law

Whereas legal history has traditionally mostly been that of private law, recent decades saw the emergence of separate journals and book series devoted to the study of other branches, such as the history of the law nations. The meeting has been set up at the crossroads between legal history, public international law and diplomatic history. Researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany will present their activities to qualified peers. Starting in the Early Modern Period and running up to the First World War, a representative array of sub-fields within public international law will be considered: the law of treaties, maritime law, legal theory, the laws of war or neutrality. Prof. Randall Lesaffer, an international authority in the field, will comment and conclude the day. 

Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory. Please contact Mrs. Karin Pensaert (

The program, platform text and bio-bibliographical information on the speakers can be found here.

05 April 2014

SEMINAR: "La clôture de l'espace public et les biens communs matériels et immatériels: étude de cas internationaux" (Paris, 8 April 2014)

What: La clôture de l'espace public et les biens communs matériels et immatériels: étude de cas internationaux, 6th meeting of the séminaire de casuistique Le Bien commun, les biens communs, les choses communes, la collectivisation des intérêts organized by Emanuele Coccia, Emanuele Conte, Marie-Angèle Hermitte and Paolo Napoli 

Where:  École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre d'études des norme juridiques Yan Thomas (CENJ), Salle D & M Lombard, 96 boulevard Raspail, 75006, Paris

When: 8 April 2014, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Daniela Festa, Université de Pérouse
Maria Rosaria Marella, Université de Pérouse
Giorgio Resta, Université de Bari

All information here

ARTICLE: Kahn on "Does it Matter How One Opposes Hate Speech Bans? A Critical Commentary on Liberté Pour L’Histoire's Opposition to French Memory Laws"

Robert A. Kahn, University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)


This paper examines Liberté pour l'Histoire, a group of French historians who led the charge against that nation’s memory laws, in the process raising unique arguments not found elsewhere in the debate over hate speech law. Some of these arguments – such as a focus on how the constitutional structure of the Fifth Republic encouraged memory laws – advance our understanding of the connection between hate speech bans and political institutions. Other arguments, however, are more problematic. In particular, Liberté historians struggle to distinguish the Holocaust (which is illegal to deny) from the Armenian Genocide (which is not). The Liberté historians also quite hostile toward multiculturalism. While this reflects the French culture in which the historians operate, it is normatively quite unappealing. This is especially true given the existence of other, more inclusive European arguments against hate speech regulation, such as those of Danish cartoon publisher Flemming Rose and Maltese Judge Giovanni Bonello. There has to be a better, more inclusive way to oppose French memory laws.

full article here

CFP: " Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires", (Lisbon, 26-27 June 2014)

What: Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, Call for papers

Where: ISCTE-IUL University Institute of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

When: 26-27 June 2014

All information here
Deadline for proposals submission: 20 April 2014

The occupation of territories, the rule over land and the definition of property rights, either de jure or de facto, were major concerns in the making and long-term development of almost every European overseas empire. They were also deeply interrelated with other key aspects of the empire-building process, including sovereignty claims, territorial expansion, settlement, taxation, power relations, social mobility, economic development, and the relationship with indigenous peoples. Therefore, those issues were of interest to all parts involved in the colonial venture - imperial governments, colonial authorities, first and later generations of settlers, native peoples and their elites - who dealt with them through complex and dynamic processes of negotiation and conflict.

The solutions adopted to regulate property rights and other territorial and land-related issues had their roots in legal norms, political concepts, institutions, ideologies and social practices transposed from each European metropole, then reframed and accommodated to each colonial context. Developing from different backgrounds in Europe, these theories and practices combined in a variety of ways with different conditions in the colonies, producing both contrasting and similar outcomes across time and space. 

The research on these topics has already achieved a huge body of results, but, for the most part, it has been pursued in a piecemeal fashion, either by disciplinary fields, empires or regions of the world, thus overlooking their interconnections. How can we compare the way issues of land, territory and property rights were dealt with across a variety of empires (e.g. Portuguese, Spanish, British, Dutch, French) and their different geographies? What can different branches of scholarship (from legal, economic, political, social and cultural history) offer each other? This conference aims to provide answers to these questions, by bringing these previously separate studies together into a common forum and setting them in comparative perspective.

CONFERENCE: 33rd Annual ANZLHS Conference, "Law's Empire or Empire's Law?: Legal Discourses of Colonies and Commonwealths", (Coffs Harbour, Australia, 10-13 December 2014)

What: Law's Empire or Empire's Law?: Legal Discourses of Colonies and Commonwealths33rd Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society, Call for papers

Where:  BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort, Coffs Harbour, Australia

When: 10th-13th December 2014

All information here

Conference 10th – 13th December 2014
The University of New England (Australia) is proud to announce the 33rd Annual ANZLHS Conference, 10-13 December 2014. The Conference provides wide scope to discuss law and history in a variety of settings. Although an important context for the conference is the interrelation between imported laws of a parent jurisdiction and their application to other domains, both jurisdictional and geographical, we encourage potential presenters to interpret the conference theme broadly.
Call for Papers On behalf of the School of Law of the University of New England, Australia, the organising committee of the 33rd annual conference of the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society takes pleasure in issuing a call for papers. The conference will be held at the BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort, Coffs Harbour, on the magnificent mid-north coast of New South Wales, between December 10-13, 2014. Further information will be made available as the conference date approaches.
The conference theme is "Law's Empire or Empire's Law?: Legal Discourses of Colonies and Commonwealths". The conference theme provides wide scope to discuss law and history in a variety of settings. Although an important context for the conference is the interrelation between imported laws of a parent jurisdiction and their application to other domains, both jurisdictional and geographical, we encourage potential presenters to interpret the conference theme broadly.
The keynote speakers for the conference are Professor Paul Mitchell, of the Faculty of Laws, University College London, and Professor Mike Grossberg, Sally M Reahard Professor of History & Professor of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.  Professor Mitchell and Professor Grossberg have long standing research interests in the conference theme and we are delighted they are able to present keynote addresses.
The organising committee would welcome interest from lawyers and 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

01 April 2014

CONFERENCE: Words and Law (Maison Française d'Oxford, 28-29 April 2014)

Nomôdos signals a most interesting conference at the Maison Française d'Oxford, on the theme "Words and Law". Presentation:

Law is of course a language. Legal terms do have a specific meaning and we know that lawyers are very proud of that, but the frame of this legal terminology is also helpful in revealing a part of the legal mind. First, the legal terminology builds a sort of wall which shapes the identity of the law. But there is much to say about the different steps of the building of that wall. How did the lawyers choose the words among all the vocabulary; why did they prefer certain words? Why do some of them belong to the very ancient past and have others been invented? Whereas certain terms seem to be classic, a new definition can have transformed their significance. All these choices must be explored and the balance of the underlying forces be evaluated.

Different questions can be asked and different periods be investigated, as the legal terminology was first shaped by the Roman jurists, then by the glossators, then by the intellectuals of the Enlightenment. But specific attention will be given on the second part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, as then at least in France legal language acts as a controversial topic and a determining criterion of legal science. But specific attention should be paid to the issue of the language. Which language for which law? How can we understand that law can have its own language – Law French, Latin -, and how do vernacular languages manage with it? Finally, the ambition of the study-day is to get a comparative view of the growth of legal terminology. It is usual to point out the differences between civil law and common law. But if legal words are different, can the ways of constructing the legal terminology be compared?

Monday 28 april
Wharton Room, All Souls College
  • 9h-9h30. - Welcome Boudewijn Sirks (All Souls college, Oxford) and Introduction, Nader Hakim (Bordeaux).
Chair: Philippe Roussin (Maison Française d’Oxford).
  • 9h30-10h. - Jean-Christophe Gaven (Toulouse I), Discours juridique et primauté politique en 1789.
  • 10h-10h30. - Anne Simonin (Maison Française d’Oxford), Justine (1791) or the Romance of the Law of the Old Regime.
10h30-10h45. - Coffee break.
Chair: Fernanda Pirié (St Cross college, Oxford).
  • 10h45-11h15 - Paul Brand (All Souls college, Oxford), The technical vocabulary of English thirteenth century law.
  • 11h15-11h45 - Paul Hyams (Cornell University), Conversation and the Common Law in the French of 12th-Century England.
  • 11h45-12h15 - Matt Dyson (Trinity College, Cambridge), Terms of art: conditioning of lawyer, Latinist and layman in the last two centuries.
12h15-14h. – Lunch.
Chair: Mike Macnair (St Hugh’s college, Oxford)
  • 14h-14h30. - Guillaume Tusseau (Science-Po Paris), Bentham v. Judges and Co.: towards a linguistic criticism of legal hegemony.
  • 14h30-15h. - Philip Schofield (University college London): Bentham’s ‘Nomography’ manuscripts.
15h-15h30. - Tea.
Chair: Paul Brand (All Souls college, Oxford).
  • 15h30-16h. - Soazick Kerneis (Maison Française d’Oxford), Law and Language in the legal popular sources (second to fourth century).
  • 16h-16h30. - Thomas Charles-Edwards (Jesus college, Oxford), The Languages of law in early-medieval Ireland: Irish and Latin?
  • 16h30-17h. - Boudewijn Sirks (All Souls college, Oxford), The effect of philosophy on legal language: different experience of identity or just a different expression?
19h-19h30. - Drinks at St Hugh’s College.
19h30. - Dining.
Tuesday 29 April
Chair: Nader Hakim (Bordeaux).
  • 8h45-9h15. - Matthieu Soula (Bordeaux), Définitions et redefinitions de l’auteur à la lumière des principes civilistes XIXe-XXe siècles.
  • 9h15-9h45. - Pierre-Nicolas BarénotComparative views of French and English legal lexicography in the XIX century.
9h45-10h15 Coffee.

Chair: Boudewijn Sirks.
  • 10h15-10h45. - Mike MacnairThe anglisation of the Law French and Latin ordered by the Act of 1731.
  • 10h45-11h15. - Yann-Arzel Marc-Durelle (Paris 13), Lingua nova? Legislator’s words for a new Order, 1789-1794.
  • 11h15-11h45. - Olivier Jouanjan (Strasbourg), La texture du droit ou le droit comme travail de textes.
  • 11h45-12h15. - ClosureBoudewijn Sirks
12h15-13h30. - Lunch.

More information here.

25 March 2014

CALL FOR PAPERS: Conference on the "Gazette des Tribunaux" (Rouen/Paris-Sorbonne, 11-12 Feb 2015)

Nomôdos signals a call for an upcoming conference on the French legal periodical "Gazette des Tribunaux". In view of the recent comparative research on legal periodicals, this event could be of interest to ESCLH members.

Colloque sous la direction de Sylvain Ledda et Sophie Vanden Abeele-Marchal, Université de Rouen/Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 11- 12 février 2015
«La Gazette des tribunaux publie des romans autrement faits que ceux de Walter Scott, qui se dénouent terriblement, avec du vrai sang et non avec de l’encre», écrit Balzac dans Modeste Mignon. Fondée en 1825, La Gazette des tribunaux, dont le sous-titre est «journal de la jurisprudence et des débats judiciaires», est le premier journal spécialisé dans le domaine de la justice. Organe de la magistrature, il est promis à devenir aux débats des chambres de justice ce que le Moniteur est à ceux des chambres des représentants. Selon la formule du Prospectus qui revendique l’«élargissement de la publicité», les fondateurs de la Gazette en appellent à une conception postrévolutionnaire de la justice: à l’arbitraire des procédures secrètes, il s’agit de substituer le dévoilement démocratique de la justice et l’exposition médiatique – «une exposition en effigie à quinze mille exemplaires répandus dans toute la France et à l’étranger», selon l’expression ironique d’Alphonse Karr en 1847[1]. Alors que le tribunal est devenu une scène majeure de la vie publique, cette ambition rencontre et attise la curiosité croissante du «grand public» pour le crime et ses mystères. La fascination pour le fait divers va contribuer en effet à l’immense succès d’un périodique dont on mesure aujourd’hui l’influence sur la création littéraire.
La Gazette devient le véritable répertoire de l’histoire criminelle des temps: la critique a ainsi relevé de nombreux faits de genèse, de Stendhal à Maupassant, en passant par Dumas et Flaubert. Elle se constitue même et surtout en archétype du journal criminel: les rédacteurs participent à la construction d’un imaginaire du crime auquel ils empruntent autant qu’il fournissent des images et des structures narratives. Dès lors, la Gazette renouvelle profondément les formes traditionnelles de médiatisation de la justice et, plus précisément, de la littérature judiciaire héritée du siècle précédent. Aussi Michelle Perrot note-t-elle que la Gazette est «un fonds inépuisable où les romanciers et chroniqueurs n’ont cessé de s’alimenter: le tableau de mœurs y est médiatisé par une mise en scène qui en fait véritablement un genre littéraire»[2]. Ce journal représente «la référence absolue de l’imaginaire fictionnel criminel». Au croisement des différents types de discours sur le mystère social, il interroge l’expression normative de la Loi et le débat, contradictoire, sur sa transgression.
Le colloque proposera une approche pluridisciplinaire de La Gazette des Tribunaux. Tout en cherchant à en cerner les acteurs et la forme dans une perspective historique et juridique, il s’agira en particulier de réfléchir au modèle de culture criminelle qu’elle institue. On étudiera les processus de «fictionnalisation» qui se font jour dans les différents types d’articles de la Gazette.
Les axes suivants pourront être abordés:
  • Le droit et la loi selon la Gazette;
  • Les auteurs de la Gazette;
  • La Gazette et la poétique des genres (traitement du fait divers, formes du récit, dialogues, théâtre, poétique de la prose juridique);
  • Culture du crime et imaginaire criminel (discours normatifs et transgressifs, faits de genèse; descriptions urbaines, typologie criminelle, littérature panoramique, théâtralisation du procès).
Les propositions de communication seront adressées, au plus tard le 1er septembre 2014, à Sylvain Ledda ( et Sophie Vanden Abeele (
Comité scientifique
  • Frédéric Audren (CNRS/Ecole de droit, IEP Paris).
  • Mathieu Debatisse (TGI Bobigny).
  • Anne-Emmanuelle Demartini (Paris VII).
  • Yvan Leclerc (Rouen).
  • Michel Lichtlé (Paris-Sorbonne).
  • Florence Naugrette (Paris-Sorbonne).
  • Nathalie Preiss (Reims).
  • Eléonore Reverzy (Strasbourg).
  • Marie-Eve Thérenty (Montpellier).

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Politics of Legality in a Neo-Liberal Age (Sydney, 1-2 August 2014)

The Legal History blog signals this interesting call for papers on themes of recent (20th Century-) legal history:

This symposium will examine the nexus between the political dominance of liberal legal ideas and the economic dominance of neo-liberal capitalism.

 According to classical liberal theory the state is legitimate to the extent that it respects legality.  The idea that the state should respect individual rights and the rule of law continues to have considerable purchase on our political discourse: the language of human rights is used by NGOs to criticise state violence, and by the same states to justify the violence of military interventions; those concerned with the legal response to terrorism often invoke the rule of law to criticise the expansion of powers for the executive branch of government; while the very same executive pays meticulous attention to justifying actions such as torture in legal terms.  Indeed, law is so central to the contemporary political imagination that the theorist Norberto Bobbio has dubbed our time the 'age of rights'.  Economically, however, the age in which we live is that of neo-liberal capitalism.  The critique of the regulatory state and the advocacy of the 'free market' developed by neo-liberal thinkers such as Frederich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ludwig von Mises have had a serious impact on practices of government over the last 30 years.  Indeed, it has been argued that neo-liberalism has played a major role in the concentration of economic power in this time, profoundly influencing the policies that have shaped the course of economic globalisation; those that led to Global Financial Crisis of 2008; and the politics of austerity that has characterised the state response to this crisis in the US and the EU.

 Neo-liberalism is not, however, simply an economic theory but a political philosophy that has legality at its core, defining itself against the regulatory state for violating individual liberty and advocating private property rights and a certain vision of the rule of law as crucial to the functioning of capitalist economies.  The rule of law has also been central to the processes of neo-liberal globalisation with 'rule of law promotion' playing a crucial role in developing markets in the global South.  And, while human rights are often used as tools for political critique and resistance, the historian Samuel Moyn has illustrated that the language of human rights has colonised political discourse since the late 1970s.  This is the very same period in which neo-liberalism has restructured the relationship between economy and society and state, raising the question of whether there is a relationship between these two phenomena.

An understanding of the contemporary political conjuncture, and the possibilities for its transformation, demands an analysis of the relationship between liberal legality and the current hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism. This symposium will address this conjuncture through papers which engage, among a range of other possibilities, the following themes and topics:

-          What *is* neo-liberalism (a radical economic theory, a political
philosophy, a governmental practice, a theory of the enterprising subject, a mutation in the history of liberalism)? How can we best understand and historicize the concept, and what set of theoretical analyses best sheds light on its contemporary operations?

-          What transformations has the neo-liberal era wrought to the
state, its function, its operation, its ideological mode of presentation and legitimation?

-          What role specifically do law and legal ideas perform in undergirding and reinforcing neo-liberalism as a political and economic project?

-          What is the relationship between the critique of totalitarianism and the ideological defence of neo-liberalism? How can we think differently about the relation between state repression and the neo-liberal economic project?

-          How does the discourse surrounding the 'rule of law' and its promotion, especially in the global South, reinforce neo-liberalism? How might the rule of law, or aspects of the rule of law tradition, interrupt or restrain neo-liberal capitalism?

-          What is the relation between the discourse of human rights and neo-liberalism - historically, conceptually, and politically? How do human rights actors and institutions recreate (or oppose) neo-liberal hegemony?

-          What critical or emancipatory purchase, if any, do traditional liberal legal ideas (such as accountability, the separation of the political and the economic, the restraint of arbitrary power) still have in a neo-liberal context?

-          What relevance do the classic *critiques* of these liberal legal ideas (of legal objectivity and neutrality, of formalism, and of the commodity form in particular, etc.) have to our neo-liberal present? Do they perform the same work? What work might they do? How might we reframe or update them to take account of changed political-economic circumstances?

-          What prospects are there for legal resistance to contemporary forms of neo-liberalism? What might a strategic left response to neo-liberalism look like - a defence of the protections of the welfare state, or the creation of something new?

 The symposium will take place over 2 days at the University of New South Wales Law School, Sydney, Australia on 1 and 2 August 2014. We invite paper proposals on any of the above, or related, themes. If you wish to discuss your proposed paper with the convenors in advance please email either Dr Ben Golder ( or Dr Daniel McLoughlin (

Procedure: Please email a 300 word abstract, 75 word bio and your institutional affiliation (if appropriate) to by 28 March with the email subject line: 'Neo-liberalism and law symposium'. We regret that only a limited number of papers can be selected for this symposium.

Publication Plans: Whilst we do not require full length papers in advance of the symposium, the aim of our meeting is to work towards the publication of selected papers in an edited volume. Initial negotiations with interested publishers are already underway.

20 March 2014

SEMINAR: "Droit et littérature. La norme entre commandement et récit" (Paris, 4 March - 10 June 2014)

What: "Droit et littérature. La norme entre commandement et récit", series of meetings organized by Emanuele Coccia and Michele Spanò

Where: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre d'études des norme juridiques Yan Thomas (CENJ), Salle 10, 105 boulevard Raspail, 75006, Paris

When: every Tuesday, from 4 March to 10 June, 3:00-5:00 pm

All information here

ARTICLE: Morin on "Fraternité, Souveraineté Et Autonomie Des Autochtones En Nouvelle-France (Fraternity, Sovereignty and Autonomy of Aboriginal Peoples in New France)"

Legal History e-Journal

Michel Morin, University of Montreal, "Fraternité, Souveraineté Et Autonomie Des Autochtones En Nouvelle-France (Fraternity, Sovereignty and Autonomy of Aboriginal Peoples in New France)"

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the legal principles which formed the framework for relationships between the Algonquians peoples of the Saint-Lawrence Valley and the French were generally well understood by both parties. Founded initially on the concepts of friendship, alliance or fraternity, they assumed the existence of independent nations which had their own decisional systems and customs, as well as local or regional chiefs enjoying strong authority in practice. From 1628 to 1663, only new converts were granted the status of subject of the French king; from 1664 to 1674, only their descendents qualified. Afterward, the situation was ambiguous. However, Christian communities living close to the French cities enjoyed a wide autonomy and seldom renounced it. They were sometimes called children of the king, because they unconditionally supported him at the military level. During the second half of the 17th century, nations which had not become Christian also bestowed paternal status on the French king, but this socio-economic dependency did not call into question their independence, something the French understood very well.

Full text available here

ARTICLE: Morin on "The discovery and Assimilation of British Constitutional Law Principles in Quebec, 1764-1774)"

Legal History e-Journal

Michel Morin, University of Montreal,"The discovery and Assimilation of British Constitutional Law Principles in Quebec, 1764-1774)"


This paper examines information available to Francophone persons regarding their rights as British subjects prior to the adoption of the 1774 Quebec Act, as well as the use they made of these concepts. The bilingual Quebec Gazette reported on legal developments in France, England, and the American colonies, including challenges to the traditional vision of governmental authority. It discussed the right to be taxed by elected representatives and the conflicts between the metropolis and the colonies. Debates about these issues are thought to have appeared in Quebec only after the beginning of the American Revolution, but they circulated earlier. Educated members of the Francophone elite sought more specific information about the new legal system. Many of them were eager to obtain an Assembly, if Catholics could sit in it. This was considered one of their rights as British subjects, together with the continuation of property rights guaranteed by the Capitulation of 1760 and, by extension, inheritance and matrimonial laws. In the end, requests for an assembly were shelved in order to obtain religious equality. Thus, British officials were free to declare that Canadians had no interest in such an institution, creating a lasting and misleading impression.

Full text available here

19 March 2014

SEMINAR: "La révolution et l’exception : exception à la règle et exception dans la règle" (Paris, 20 March 2014)

What: Séminaires Norma, séminaire du sous-projet Connaître la Loi sous l’Ancien Régime (CLAR) sur « La révolution et l’exception: exception à la règle et exception dans la règle »

Where: 105, bd. Raspail, Paris (6e), salle 1

When: 20 March 2014, 5:00-7:00 pm

All information here

Yann-Arzel Durelle-Marc, Maître de Conférences en Histoire du droit, Université de Franche Comté

BOOK: Robert Jacob on the judiciary and the sacred (Le grâce des juges. L'institution judiciaire et le sacré en Occident, Paris, PUF, 2014)

Prof. Robert Jacob (ULg/USL/CNRS) just published his new book La grâce des juges. L'institution judiciaire et le sacré en Occident at the Presses Universitaires de France.

The publisher presents the work as follows:

Comment  comprendre  le  halo  de  sacralité  qui  entoure  aujourd’hui  encore  la  pratique  de  la  justice  ?  Comment  s’explique le fossé qui sépare la conception de la fonction de juger en Occident et dans d’autres cultures, comme celle de la Chine ? Quelle est l’origine de l’écart qui s’est creusé entre les justices de common law et celles de l’Europe continentale, jusque dans la construction de la vérité judiciaire ?
À ces questions, ce livre cherche des réponses dans l’histoire  des  articulations  entre  justices  humaines  et  justice  divine au sein même de la pratique des procès. En Occident, elles sont passées par deux phases. La première fut d’instrumentalisation. La christianisation des ordalies permettait  de solliciter directement de Dieu le jugement des causes. 
La seconde fut d’imitation. À partir du Moyen Âge central, les hommes allaient assumer seuls la charge du jugement.
Mais jamais ils ne perdirent de vue l’exigence de perfection que leur imposait la référence à l’idéal d’une justice absolue.
L’ouvrage entreprend de dénouer les fils de cette histoire, en même temps qu’il l’éclaire du dehors en l’inscrivant dans une ample anthropologie comparative des rituels judiciaires.

ARTICLE: Morin on "Blackstone and the Birth of Quebec's Legal Culture 1765-1867"

Legal History e-Journal, March 2014, vol. 18 n. 29

Michel Morin, University of Montreal, "Blackstone and the Birth of Quebec's Legal Culture 1765-1867"

Blackstone’s commentaries were soon translated in French and became, prior to the French Revolution, the principal reference on British constitutional and criminal law. In Quebec, his work was known as early as 1767 and was used to buttress arguments for the preservation of French civil law. He was quoted in court proceedings and in a draft petition. In 1773, François-Joseph Cugnet sent documents concerning these issues to Blackstone, who forwarded them to the British Government. This probably convinced the ministry that the francophone population had no objection to English Criminal Law and to testamentary freedom. Thus, the Quebec Act of 1774 expressly preserved these parts of English Law, while restoring the laws in force prior to the Conquest concerning “Property and Civil Rights”. French versions of the Commentaries were available in Quebec as early as 1784. After the creation of an Assembly, politicians who opposed the Government and wanted to assimilate the provincial Assembly to the British House of Commons regularly quoted Blackstone. His Commentaries, which had benefitted from an improved translation by Chompré in 1822, remained a model for the first legal authors in Quebec. He clearly was part of Quebec’s legal culture and facilitated the understanding of arcane rules of English Law, both because of the clarity of his writings and of various translations of his work made in Europe.

Full text available here

18 March 2014

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Ph.D.-workshop, Association française des jeunes historiens du droit (Ljubljana, 5-8 June 2014)

The Association française des heunes historiens du droit organizes a Ph.D.-candidate-workshop at the Journées Internationales of the Société d'histoire du droit, and is still looking for potential participants. Presentations can take place in French, but in in English, German or Italian as well. Please apply before 30 March 2014.

At  the  invitation  of  the  Société d’histoire du droit  in  conjunction  with  the  Chair  for Legal History of the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law, the Association française des jeunes historiens du droit will hold a round table during the upcoming Journées Internationales d’Histoire du Droit, which will take place in the University of Ljubljana on 5-8 June 2014. 

The session will be limited to PhD-candidates and moderated by a Professor. The
aim of this round table is for each participant to submit a few minutes of his or her thesis
topic,  in  addition  to,  a  discussion  on  substantive  issues  and  methodological  approaches raised by each line of research.  

The presentation should not exceed 10 minutes in order to spend time discussing
with  the  participants.  The  objective  of  which  is  not  to  give  a  conference  on  the  thesis subject, but rather a reflective workshop and an exchange of ideas and knowledge between the  various  participants  on  their  work  in  progress.  The  aim  of  this  session  is  also  to establish  contact  between  PhD-candidates  with  various  academic  fields,  and  obtain feedback on projects and early stages. 

Proposals  for  the  presentation  may  cover  all  time  periods  and  fields  of  Legal
History,  regardless  of  the  selected  theme  for  the  Journées Internationales d’Histoire du Droit. Presentations may be given in French, English, German or Italian. 

Intending presenters are encouraged to send an application consisting of no more
than 300 words, and a curriculum vitae before 30 March 2014 to :

15 March 2014

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Société d'histoire du droit et des institutions des pays flamands, picards et wallons: La Guerre de l’antiquité au monde contemporain. Droit, institutions, diplomatie, économie et société (Utrecht, 30-31 May 2014)

The Société d'histoire du droit et des institutions des pays flamands, picards et wallons, founded in Lille (France) in 1929, unites historians from France, Belgium and the Netherlands in a yearly gathering, rotating every year between these three countries. This year's meeting is scheduled for 30 and 31 May 2014, in the City of Utrecht, which recently celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Treaties of Peace concluded on 11 April 1713.

Fittingly, this year's theme is "War" in legal history, from Antiquity to the Contemporary era, across all sections of society and human behaviour. Contributions can be mailed until 30 April 2014 to prof. Emese von Boné. A registration form for the conference can be found here.

BOOK: O. Christin, Vox Populi. Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel (Paris: Seuil, 2014)

Nomôdos signals a work potentially of  interest to historians of public law: Olivier Christin's Vox Populi. Une histoire du vote avant le suffrage universel. The author examines distinct procedures of designating public officials in towns and villages, religious orders and conclaves, universities and academies. A just distribution of posts, or the selection of the best and most able were far from the essential objective. Instead, elite reproduction and the defense of orthodoxy were central.

To trace "democracy" back to representative institutions from the Late Middle Ages to the end of the Ancien Régime, is a commonplace all too often asserted. Christin challenges this assumption and forces the reader to adopt a critical approach to contemporary institutions and the social objectives their selection mechanisms serve.

14 March 2014

WORKSHOP: Compromiso literario y derechos humanos (València, 24 March 2014)

WhatCompromiso literario y derechos humanos. El modernismo hispanoamericano frente al Affaire Dreyfus, workshop in the Master on HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE
Where: Institut Universitari de Drets Humans. Facultat de Dret. Universidad de València, Edificio Departamental Occidental, aula 4P12, València, España
When: 24 March 2014, 4:30 pm

Jose Calvo, Catedratico de Filosofia del derecho

SEMINAR: La democrazia costituzionale e il suo passato (Alessandria, 17-25 March 2014)

What: La democrazia costituzionale il suo passato, series of meetings organized by Prof. Pietro Costa

Where: Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza e Scienze politiche, economiche e sociali, aula 209, Via Cavour 84, Alessandria, Italy

When: 17 - 25 March 2014.

La democrazia costituzionale e la sua crisi, 17 march, 3:00 pm - Aula 209
La rappresentanza e i partiti politici,18 march, 11:00 am-1:00 pm - Sala seminari iSGe
La rappresentanza e i partiti politici, 19 march, 10:00 -12:00 am - Aula 209
La sovranità popolare, 24 march, 3:00 - 5:00 pm - Aula 209
Diritti e democrazia, 25 march, 10:00 -12:00 am - Aula 209
Lo stato di diritto e la giustizia costituzionale, 25 march, 2:30 -4:30 pm - Aula 209

NOTICE: Doctoral Meeting in Legal history, Roman law and Religious law (Milan, 21 March 2014)

What: Doctoral Meeting 
Where: University of Milan, Law Faculty, Civil Law and Legal History Department, room "Senato", Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milan  
When: 21 March 2014, 11:00 am

Prof. David Deroussin, Université Jean Moulin Lyon III, Le consensualisme dans le droit coutumier médiéval en France 
Prof. Sara Parini, Università degli studi di Milano, Pacta sunt servanda. Profili problematici della transazione dall'età moderna ai codici
Prof. Giovanni Chiodi, Università degli studi Milano-Bicocca, La responsabilità contrattuale per inadempimento nella civilistica italiana del primo Novecento

All information here

10 March 2014

CONFERENCE: XXth European Forum of Young Legal Historians: Common Laws (Cambridge, 2-5 April 2014): Programme

The organizers of the XXth European Forum of Young Legal Historians (Cambridge, 2-5 April 2014) have published a provisional programme for the conference.

Highlights include a keynote lecture by prof. David Ibbetson (Cambridge), speeches by Lord Sumption (Supreme Court of the UK) and prof. Mark Godfrey (Edinburgh). In conformity with previous editions, the Forum covers a broad array of topics in the field of European, comparative and national legal history in no less than 22 panels, featuring 66 papers.

More information on the AYLH website.

08 March 2014

NOTICE: Law and the Humanities Course (Rome, Spring semester, march-may 2014)

What: the Law and Humanities Course 2014, by Prof. Emanuele Conte, Dr. Stefania Gialdroni, Dr. Angela Condello

Where: Roma Tre University, Law Faculty, Via Ostiense 161, 00154, Rome

When: Spring semester 2014 (march-may), wed 2:00 pm - thur/fri 10:00 am

All information available here: Blog and Facebook page

07 March 2014

SEMINAR: "La gestion des déchets nucléaires et le Bien commun. Une expérience citoyenne" (Paris, 11 march 2014)

What: La gestion des déchets nucléaires et le Bien commun. Une expérience citoyenne, 5th meeting of the séminaire de casuistique Le Bien commun, les biens communs, les choses communes, la collectivisation des intérêts organized by Emanuele Coccia, Emanuele Conte, Marie-Angèle Hermitte and Paolo Napoli 

Where: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre d'études des norme juridiques Yan Thomas (CENJ), Salle D & M Lombard, 96 boulevard Raspail, 75006, Paris

When:  11 March 2014, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Marie-Angèle Hermitte, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Directeur d’études à l’EHESS

All informations available here

28 February 2014

BOOK: S.C. Neff, Justice Among Nations: A History of International Law (Harvard UP, 2014)

Harvard UP published Stephen Neff (University of Edinburgh's) new work, an all-encompassing standard work on the history of international law. The author previously gained fame with his works on the law of neutrality (Manchester UP, 2000) and the laws of war (Cambridge UP, 2005). The 640 pages of this most recent work can be yours for € 40 (publisher's website).

Source: Legal History Blog.

27 February 2014

NOTICE: A panoramic view of English criminal law, by Otto Vervaart, Rechtsgeschiedenis Blog


"In this post I look at several connected projects on the history of English criminal law. At the center of a constellation of websites are the Digital Panopticon project and the digitized Old Bailey proceedings. Sharon Howard (University of Sheffield), coordinator and webmaster of the Digital Panopticon, maintains a number of other websites, blogs and blog aggregators which can bring you to other aspects of medieval and Early Modern history", Otto Vervaart, Rechtsgeschiedenis Blog

Full text available here 

CONFERENCE: Regulae Iuris.Their roots in experience and legal logic, their practical conferences (Naples, 16-20 September 2014)

What: Regulae Iuris.Their roots in experience and legal logic, their practical conferences68th session of the Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité (SIHDA)
Where: University "Federico II", Department of Law, Naples, Italy
When: 16th-20th September 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Th. Deswarte (ed.), Le droit hispanique latin du VIe au XIIe siècle (Francia:Recensio 2013/4) published a review by Adeline Rucquoi of Th. Deswarte (ed.), Le droit hispanique latin du VIe au XIIe siècle (Madrid: Casa de Velazquez, 2012). This collection of conference papers dating from 2009 tries to nuance stereotypes on Spanish legal history up to the reception of Roman Law and the supposed decay of society following the 711 invasion from North-Africa.

Fulltext on

CALL FOR PAPERS (student conference): Violence - History - Society (Freiburg, 30 May-1 June)

The History and German Studies Association at the University of Freiburg (Germany) hosts a student conference on the transversal theme "Violence - History - Society", open to all social sciences. Details (in German):
Gewalt – in ihren verschiedenen Formen, aber auch in ihrer Abwesenheit – strukturiert Gesellschaften auf vielfältige Art und Weise. Gleichzeitig beeinflusst Gewalterfahrung den Menschen unmittelbar in seiner physischen und psychischen Existenz und in seinem Verhältnis zur Umwelt. Diese Allgegenwärtigkeit der Gewalt spiegelt sich in vielen geisteswissenschaftlichen Disziplinen wider und bietet Anknüpfungspunkte für die Arbeit mit verschiedenen Fragen, Ansätzen und Fallbeispielen.
Unsere Tagung will daher den gesamten Komplex von Gewalt, Geschichte und Gesellschaft epochenübergreifend und interdisziplinär betrachten. In der gemeinsamen Diskussion wollen wir einen differenzierten Blick auf das Phänomen Gewalt entwickeln.
Der „Call for Papers“ richtet sich an Nachwuchswissenschaftler*innen unterschiedlicher Fachrichtungen und bietet den Teilnehmenden die Möglichkeit, eigene Arbeiten vorzustellen und zu diskutieren. Sowohl theoretische Auseinandersetzungen als auch Arbeiten zu konkreten Gewaltausprägungen sind gewünscht.
Folgende Fragen könnten als Denkanstöße dienen:
- Wie gehen Gesellschaften mit verschiedenen Formen von Gewalt um?
- Wie und warum ändert sich die Rezeption von Gewalt?
- Ist Gewalt eine anthropologische Konstante?
- Kann Gewalt als Motor für Fortschritt wirken?
- Was ist „Nicht-Gewalt“ und was kann Friedensforschung leisten?
- Gibt es eine historische Tendenz zur Zu- oder Abnahme von Gewalt?
Falls Du Interesse hast, Deine Gedanken und Thesen vorzustellen und zu diskutieren, dann schicke uns ein Exposé (ca. 600 Wörter) Deines Vortrags (20 Minuten Redezeit). Bitte teile uns auch Deine Kontaktdaten sowie den Namen der Universität, des Studiengangs und die Semesterzahl mit.
 More information on HSozUKult.