Category Archives: Legal History

‘How privacy’s past may shape its future’

“Continued expansion of human activities into digital realms gives rise to concerns about digital privacy and its invasions, often expressed in terms of data rights and internet surveillance. It may thus be tempting to construe privacy as a modern phenomenon – something our ancestors lacked and technological innovation and urban growth made possible. Research from […]

‘Using the Past’

Sarah A Seo, ‘A User’s Guide to History’, in Research Handbook on Modern Legal Realism (Shauhin Talesh, Elizabeth Mertz, and Heinz Klug eds, 2021), available at SSRN. In ‘A User’s Guide to History’, Sarah A Seo offers a thoughtful and challenging assessment of the possibilities and pitfalls of using historical scholarship to guide our present. […]

Alvin See, ‘Dealing with a minor’s land in Singapore’

ABSTRACT This article attempts to dispel the myth that a trustee holding land on trust for a minor could deal with it only with court approval. The source of this myth is a series of antiquated statutes suggesting that minors belong to a vulnerable group deserving of special protection. As the complex interpretive exercise reveals, […]

‘Whistler’s Woman in White through the lens of copyright history’

“In February a new exhibition opened at the Royal Academy of Arts in London about the painter and printmaker James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903): ‘Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan’, which runs until 22 May 2022, before moving to the National Gallery of Art, Washington (3 July to 22 October 2022). The centre-piece of the […]

‘New Developments in Fifteenth-Century Ottoman Trust Law and the Fate of the Hagia Sophia’

‘The Hagia Sophia Case, Recent Case: Daniștay, Onuncu Daire [Council of State, Tenth Chamber] Matter No 2016/16015, Decision No. 2020/2595, July 2, 2020’, 134 Harvard Law Review 1278 (2021). English legal historian Frederic William Maitland declared in the late 19th century, ‘[i]f we were asked what is the greatest and most distinctive achievement performed by […]

‘Call For Papers WORKSHOP: Ius Commune Workshop on Comparative Legal History 2022 – Ius Commune in the Making: Innovation in the History of Law – Maastricht (24-25 November 2022) (deadline 15 July 2022)’

“The 27th Ius Commune Conference will take place in Maastricht (24-25 November 2022), and a Workshop will be devoted to ‘Innovation in the History of Law’. The workshops on ‘Comparative Legal History – Ius Commune in the Making’ aim to reveal and understand the nature and effects of various legal formants in the development of […]

James Gordley, ‘Private Rights and the Common Good’

ABSTRACT Since the 19th century, private rights have been envisioned as zones of freedom in which the right-hold can do as he will. That idea persists. Those who oppose it often see the problem as how to curtail private rights in the interest of others In doing so, they take the 19th century conception of […]

Sarath Sanga, ‘The Origins of the Market for Corporate Law’

ABSTRACT I study the origins of the market for corporate charters and the emergence of Delaware as the leader of this market. Specifically, I assemble new data on 19th- and 20th-century corporations to evaluate two widely held beliefs: (1) the US Supreme Court is responsible for enabling a national market for corporate charters in the […]

Daniel O’Gorman, ‘Langdell and the Foundation of Classical Contract Law’

ABSTRACT In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, scholars seeking to bring order to the common law developed what has since become known as classical contract law. Its leading architects were Christopher Columbus Langdell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, and Samuel Williston, and their efforts involved seeking to provide an objective foundation for contract law. […]

‘The Social Ecology of Canadian Tort Law, 1945-1995: Mentalité, Method, Interpretation’: Rande Kostal, King’s College London, 18 May 2022

This paper concerns ongoing research in the social history of the Canadian tort law system in the period 1945-1995. It will amplify themes and methods introduced in ‘The Reinvention of Canadian Tort Law, 1945-1995: Jordan House as case study’, examining the historical genesis, pleading and adjudication of an innovative tort claim in Canada in the […]