Category Archives: Legal History

Ido Israelowich, ‘Professional Liability and Forensic Science in the Context of the Lex Aquilia

ABSTRACT This article examines the emergence of professional liability and forensic science in the context of the Lex Aquilia. The interpretations of jurists, found in the sections of the Digest discussing the Lex Aquilia, subjected professionals to a higher standard of responsibility and liability, both in the context of locatio-conductio contracts and outside of it. […]

Steve Hedley, ‘Tort: The Long Good-Bye’

ABSTRACT Throughout history, tort – civil liability for wrongdoing – has been a prominent feature of many legal systems. By compelling wrongdoers to compensate their victims, two immediate social needs are satisfied (wrongdoers are penalised, their victims supported), as are other goals (public order is upheld, justice is seen to be done). Yet in modern […]

Mark Leeming, ‘Book Review: A History of Australian Tort Law 1901-1945: England’s Obedient Servant? by Mark Lunney (Cambridge University Press, 2018)’

ABSTRACT This book review of Mark Lunney’s work emphasises the distinctively Australian law developed by local courts and local legislatures, despite the existence of a right of appeal to the Privy Council and the notion of a single common law of England. It also addresses the use of primary contemporaneous materials, including newspaper reports and […]

Taisu Zhang, ‘Land Law in Chinese History’

ABSTRACT Although land law or ‘real property law’ is but one of several branches of what scholars commonly call ‘economic law’, or laws that regulate everyday economic activity, its history has drawn, over the past several decades, an unusually large amount of attention from legal theorists, economists, and comparative scholars of all methodological orientations. This […]

‘Medieval Theories of Obligationes

“Obligationes (literally, ‘obligations’) or disputations de obligationibus were a medieval disputation format that became very widespread in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Although their name might suggest they had something especially to do with ethics or moral duty, they did not. The purpose of these disputations was strictly logical. Several kinds of disputations de obligationibus […]

Robert Herian, ‘The Conscience of Thomas More: An Introduction to Equity in Modernity’

INTRODUCTION … For both More’s predecessor Cardinal Wolsey and More himself ‘conscience remained front‐and‐centre as far as Chancery was concerned’. The cusp of the Reformation saw the medieval order ‘yielding to an intellectual and economic revolution’, and Christendom ‘rent by the divisions between Protestant and Catholic’. Thomas More’s conscience smashed, with devastating effect, against the […]

Christian Burset, ‘Arbitrating the England Problem: Litigation, Private Ordering, and the Rise of the Modern Economy’

ABSTRACT Legal scholars, historians, and social scientists have long puzzled over how England – with its apparently irrational common-law system – gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. One prominent solution has been to suggest that eighteenth-century merchants used arbitration and other forms of private ordering to sidestep England’s defective legal system. This Article questions that […]

‘Legal Genres’

“As I noted in a previous post, the authors of Bracton tried to reconcile the substantive rules of the English royal courts with the rules of Roman law, to demonstrate that the kind of work they were doing in the courts of the common law was actually part of the broader civilian culture of the […]

Brian McCall, ‘Demystifying Unconscionability: An Historical and Empirical Analysis’

ABSTRACT … This article will thus attempt to dispel the following three myths about unconscionability: It is a new, modern doctrine of law; Its application is unpredictable and arbitrary; To prevail a party must prove both procedural and substantive unconscionability. The best way to dispel myths is through facts. This article attempts to clear the […]

Kenneth Abraham, ‘The Long-tail Liability Revolution: Creating the New World of Tort and Insurance Law’

ABSTRACT Very few developments have ever transformed either tort or insurance law. One development – as important in our time as the adoption of liability for negligence was in the 19th century or the rise of strict products liability was in the 20th century – transformed both. That is the rise of long-tail civil liability. […]