Category Archives: Legal History

Maurizio Lupoi, ‘Chancellors as civil lawyers – and the equitable notion of “fraud”’

ABSTRACT Professor Lupoi traces equity’s origins back to Rome’s ius commune. He explains that Chancellors were doctors in civil law. Until Henry VIII’s breach with Rome, Chancellors were also Bishops. Their cultural and spiritual anchors were very distinct from those dispensing justice in common law courts. In the course of the fourteenth century common law […]

Rachel Leow, Review of Capitalism Before Corporations: The Morality of Business Associations and the Roots of Commercial Equity and Law by Andreas Televantos (2020)

“Although much modern commercial activity occurs through corporations incorporated by registration, general incorporation statutes were passed only in the middle of the nineteenth century. But, as Televantos points out, ‘much of the modernisation of production in leading sectors had already happened by [then]’ (p 2). To what extent, then, did English law facilitate trade before […]

Greg Taylor, ‘Cancel that Hamburger (the Torrens System was not German)’

ABSTRACT The view that the Torrens system was merely an adaptation of Hamburg’s mid-nineteenth-century system of lands titles registration has lost ground rapidly over the last few years and appears to have been silently abandoned, or at least heavily qualified, even by its former proponents. Now the author has discovered a letter from the supposed […]

Robert Reed, ‘Time Present and Time Past: Legal Development and Legal Tradition in the Common Law’

“The title of my lecture, ‘Time Present and Time Past’, is the opening line of TS Eliot’s Burnt Norton, the first poem in his Four Quartets. The poems make clear the importance which Eliot attached to history and tradition in understanding the world and our place in it. He is far from alone in that […]

‘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 […]