Category Archives: Legal History

‘Wells’s “Holmes: Willing Servant to an Unknown God”’

“Earlier this year, Catherine Pierce Wells, Boston College Law School, published Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Willing Servant to an Unknown God in the series Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society, edited by Christopher Tomlins, University of California, Berkeley …” (more) [Legal History Blog, 2 August]

William Deller, ‘The transfer of land in medieval England from 1246 to 1430: the language of acquisition’

ABSTRACT Records of proof-of-age hearings from 1246 to 1430 which mention land transfer are analysed by techniques aimed at overcoming the legal conventionality of the texts and the widespread plagiarism of the records of previous hearings. References are examined decade by decade, initially in terms of the numbers of testimonies mentioning land and, most importantly, […]

‘Is Tort Law Hopelessly Fragmented?’

Kenneth S Abraham and G Edward White, Conceptualizing Tort Law: The Continuous (and Continuing) Struggle Maryland Law Review (forthcoming 2020), available at SSRN. Like Gaul, tort law is divided into three parts: torts of intent, negligence, and strict liability. At least, that is what most torts professors teach and what many scholars, judges and practitioners […]

Mark Weidemaier, ‘Law, Lawyers, and Self-Governance During the Heyday of the London Stock Exchange’

ABSTRACT This Article draws on archival material to examine how the London Stock Exchange managed its relationship to English courts and common law in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like many other merchant communities, the LSE developed a private legal system that relied primarily on extralegal sanctions to enforce bargains between members. But […]

Lisa Austin, Review of Pierson v Post, The Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture by Angela Fernandez

ANGELA FERNANDEZ, Pierson v Post, The Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018). There are many different approaches to private law theory, but one family of approaches is distinguished by its commitment to take the law seriously as we find it. What this means is […]

Leib and Kent, ‘Fiduciary Law and the Law of Public Office: Suggestions for a Research Agenda’

ABSTRACT A law of public office crystallized in Anglo-American law in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This body of law – defined and enforced through a mix of oaths, statutes, criminal and civil case law, impeachments, and legislative investigations – imposed core duties on public officeholders: Officials needed to serve the public good, not their […]

Victoria Barnes, Review of Anat Rosenberg, Liberalizing Contracts: Nineteenth Century Promises Through Literature, Law and History (2019)

“Anat Rosenberg’s book on Liberalizing Contracts is a pleasurable read. This is perhaps unsurprising given that she uses novels to explore the development of contract law. For example, she interrogates well-known pieces of fiction, such as Bleak House, Middlemarch, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Wuthering Heights among others. For those readers who are not avid […]

Warren Swain, ‘The Unromantic History of Lex Mercatoria in England’

ABSTRACT The idea that a homogenous law merchant once existed is a popular one used by the two founding fathers of the ‘new lex mercatoria’ movement, Berthold Goldman and Clive Schmitthoff, in order to argue in favour of a modern body of transnational mercantile law. History is central to their thesis, with Goldman going on […]

Greg Taylor, ‘Book Review – Blackstone and his Critics

ABSTRACT This book continues the successful series – in which it is the third – of published symposia under the benevolent eye of the University of Adelaide’s Professor Wilf Prest. Over the last decade or so, he has established himself as the world’s leading authority on Sir William Blackstone J (1723–1780) and greatly enhanced the […]

Joseph Fishman, ‘Originality’s Other Path’

ABSTRACT Although the US Supreme Court has famously spoken of a ‘historic kinship’ between patent and copyright doctrine, the family resemblance is sometimes hard to see. One of the biggest differences between them today is how much ingenuity they require for earning protection. Obtaining a patent requires an invention so innovative that it would not […]