Category Archives: Legal History

‘Hartog on property in land and water’

“As part of his stint as a guest blogger at Legal History Blog, Dirk Hartog recently blogged about his own early work on waterfront development in New York City and his encounter with Debjani Bhattacharyya’s Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta. Some excerpts, followed by a quibble of mine …” […]

Bell, Brooks and Killick, ‘A reappraisal of the freehold property market in late medieval England’

ABSTRACT This article re-examines the late medieval market in freehold land, the extent to which it was governed by market forces as opposed to political or social constraints, and how this contributed to the commercialisation of the late medieval English economy. We employ a valuable new resource for study of this topic in the form […]

‘Enjoy the Little Things’

Emily Kadens, Cheating Pays, 119 Columbia Law Review 527 (2019). According to Columbus, the protagonist of Zombieland (2009), ‘enjoy the little things’ is Rule #32 for surviving a zombie apocalypse. Professor Emily Kadens’ Cheating Pays explores the darker side of enjoying the little things against the backdrop of the 1622 trial of a London grocer, […]

‘Two sorts of labour: maternity and employment, medieval style’

“The plea rolls of the fifteenth century Court of Common Pleas have a lot of ‘labour law’ cases, based on the post-Black Death labourers legislation. Although each concerns a dispute which mattered massively to the individuals involved, the records are mostly fairly repetitive: parties argue as to whether there had been an agreement to serve, […]

Recently Published: Scholars of Tort Law (Goudkamp and Nolan eds)

The publication of Scholars of Tort Law marks the beginning of a long overdue rebalancing of private law scholarship. Instead of concentrating on judicial decisions and academic commentary only for what that commentary says about judicial decisions, the book explores the contributions of scholars of tort law in their own right. The work of a […]

‘Shubha Ghosh on IP Lore and Justice Holmes’

In this episode, Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses his work on the legal history of intellectual property. He begins by describing the book he is currently editing on intellectual property law for Edward Elgar Publishing, including its beginnings in the Forgotten IP symposium published by the […]

‘Corporate Law as Law’

David Kershaw, The Foundations of Anglo-American Corporate Fiduciary Law (2018). Corporate law has a short historical memory. One result is that conceptual battles that go nowhere get refought, as a look at much of the literature generated in the wake of Citizens United will confirm. There are a few historical classics in the academic literature […]

Giovanni Tuzet, ‘Liability, Pragmatism and Economics’

ABSTRACT  The article considers the concept of legal liability and shows how pragmatist legal thinkers (1) reshaped it in the light of their philosophical externalism and (2) developed an economic analysis of it that is certainly stimulating but raises some serious concerns. The main characters of this story are Oliver Holmes for the classical pragmatist […]

Jonathan Price, ‘“God Created Man αύτεξούσιον”: Grotius’s Theological Anthropology and Modern Contract Doctrine’

ABSTRACT Hugo Grotius, the seventeenth century Dutch scholar, is most famous for his contributions to modern international law, particularly the law of the free seas. Yet, he has had just as lasting an effect on the formation of modern contract doctrine, originating in the same text that produced his maritime law. Grotius instigates a change […]

Erik Olsen, ‘The early modern “creation” of property and its enduring influence’

ABSTRACT This article redescribes early modern European defenses of private property in terms of a theoretical project of seeking to establish the true or essential nature of property. Most of the scholarly literature has focused on the historical and normative issues relating to the various accounts of original acquisition around which these defenses were organized. […]