22 May 2013


In addition to the upcoming Irish Society of Comparative Law Conference this Friday and Saturday, a Workshop on JURISDICTIONAL COMPLEXITY IN WESTERN LEGAL HISTORY will take place at the University of Limerick next Monday.

The project abstract is here. The first paragraph reads:

Western legal histories are frequently told as very simplistic and whiggish tales. They highlight common laws at the expense of both myriad, layered local laws and other, less formal, normative orders. But the creation of genuinely general national laws, a legal ‘system’ centred on the state, and the elimination of competing jurisdictions and marginalisation of non-legal norms was a very long historical process. Indeed, the ideas and institutions of many of the competitors of national law have survived into the present.  Because the historical and contemporary importance of these jurisdictions is not reflected in current historiography, the proposed volume in comparative legal history will examine Western jural complexity from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. Only the study of these marginalised normative orders—each worthy of study in their own right—will provide us with the appropriate context necessary to understand the laws that have continued into the present period. Their failures will tell us much about the successes of our contemporary common laws.

The Workshop is led by me and Dirk Heirbaut (Ghent). We met in Ghent last year and hope to publish the collection next year. We have been generously supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation

Contact me for additional information.

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