Monthly Archives: October 2015

M.Litt Scholarships 2016-7

The University of St Andrews’ Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research invites applications for a number of scholarships for the MLitt in Legal and Constitutional Studies

Combining historical and contemporary approaches within one unique, cross-disciplinary, degree, the MLitt in Legal and Constitutional Studies introduces students to a dynamic and expanding field of research. Taught by leading experts in the field, this degree enables students to pursue an exciting programme of study through a combination of research-led taught classes and directed individual study. For further details see:

The ILCR MLitt scholarship competition is open to outstanding Home/EU and International Students who are applying for a place on the MLitt Legal and Constitutional Studies at the University of St Andrews, to commence September 2016. Awards will be made on the basis of academic merit.

Each MLitt scholarship is worth a maximum of £5K.

How to apply:

To apply for an ILCR MLitt scholarship you must:

1. Apply for a place on the MLitt Legal and Constitutional Studies via the University of St Andrews Postgraduate on-line application process:

The MLitt Legal and Constitutional Studies is a cross-disciplinary degree housed in the School of History: select “History” on the application drop-down menu when applying.

2. Send an email to Professor Caroline Humfress ( stating your name and the following declaration: “I have already applied for a place on the MLitt in Legal and Constitutional Studies and wish to be considered for an ILCR MLitt scholarship.”

The deadline for applications to the ILCR MLitt scholarship competition is 5pm on MAY 1 2016.

For enquiries about the MLitt Legal and Constitutional Research please contact Professor Caroline Humfress ( For more details about postgraduate study at St Andrews see

Baroness Hale Lecture Available Online

The opening lecture of the ILCR took place on Thursday 8th October. Baroness Hale provided an overview of the constitutional relationship between Westminster and the devolved parliaments of the UK. The role played by the Supreme Court in disputes concerning devolved powers was then discussed. Baroness Hale also considered the role of the Supreme Court within the political and legal framework of international law, particularly that of the European Union and the Council of Europe. The overarching theme of the lecture was the rule of law. In light of the often complex jurisdictional forces acting on the Westminster government, how might the ideas underpinning the rule of law guide the Supreme Court in its interpretation of the UK constitution?

The Institute is very grateful to Baroness Hale for delivering the lecture, the full text of which may be accessed here: The UK Supreme Court in the United Kingdom Constitution

ILCR Opening Lecture – Baroness Hale of Richmond

The Opening Lecture of the University’s new Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research will take place on Thursday 8th October at 5.15pm in School III.  Baroness Hale of Richmond, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, will speak on ‘The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom Constitution’. The Lecture will be followed by a wine reception in Lower College Hall.

Lady Hale was appointed Deputy President of The Supreme Court in June 2013, succeeding Lord Hope of Craighead. In January 2004, Lady Hale became the United Kingdom’s first female Lord of Appeal in Ordinary after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer, and judge. In October 2009 she became the first female Justice of The Supreme Court.

After graduating from Cambridge in 1966, she taught law at Manchester University from 1966 to 1984, also qualifying as a barrister and practising for a while at the Manchester Bar. She specialised in Family and Social Welfare law, was founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and authored a pioneering case book on ‘The Family, Law and Society’.

In 1984 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, a statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. Important legislation resulting from the work of her team at the Commission includes the Children Act 1989, the Family Law Act 1996, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

In 1994 she became a High Court judge, the first to have made her career as an academic and public servant rather than a practising barrister. In 1999 she was the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, before becoming the first woman Law Lord.

Baroness Hale

Baroness Hale of Richmond

“DIVERGING PATHS? The Shapes of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam” RECEIVES STELLAR REVIEW

Diverging Paths? The Shapes of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam” (Brill, 2014), received a stellar review to be included in the “The Medieval Review”.

The book is edited by John Hudson, Director of the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research (ILCR), and long-time friend of St Andrews Ana Rodríguez (CCHS-CSIC). It emerges from work undertaken in the related projects “Diverging Paths” and “Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom“, and includes contributions from John Hudson, and Caroline Humfress.

From the forthcoming review by Thomas W. Barton (University of San Diego):

This sophisticated volume illustrates the impressive, thought-provoking results an accomplished, diverse group of scholars can produce in pursuit of a simple and open-ended yet ultimately difficult and complicated question. Based on the level and manner of institutionalization of Islamic and Christian societies in the early medieval period, one would have expected their respective development by the late Middle Ages to be the reverse from what,Diverging Paths in fact, transpired. For example, whereas Christendom witnessed the development of sophisticated medieval states and other exclusive economic and political organizations, Islamic societies were seemingly prevented by the nature of Islamic law from developing similarly elitist institutions. How can scholars account for this unexpected reversal in “institutionalisation and institutional continuity” (xi)? Funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology, a gathering of handpicked experts on premodern Islamic and Christian societies from around the world (but predominately Europe) participated in a number of meetings convoked by Ana Rodríguez and Eduardo Manzano at their Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid between 2009 and 2013. The project took the same name now borne by this handsome volume and pursued a fascinating and timely inquiry into the comparative institutional development of societies of the premodern Mediterranean, a topic that has of course interested historians for generations. Yet with a plethora of highly trained and interested experts and arguably more collaboration between scholars working on the formerly much too isolated Islamic and Christian sides of the Mediterranean world (encouraged by numerous and proliferating networking associations), academia has never been better prepared to tackle such a project.

It is uncommon to find an edited volume for which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, such is the case with Diverging Paths?, which manifests an impressive degree of synergy among its widely varied contributions. Nearly every essay could stand alone as a significant contribution to its respective field, yet the individual arguments become all the more intriguing and meaningful when presented within the broader context and comparative framework generated by the volume. This cumulative effect must be at least partly the result of sustained collaboration by these scholars over several years, enabling them to tweak their theoretical approaches and assumptions and ruminate adequately over the meanings of their results. It is also clearly owing to the hard work of the editors, who were evidently committed to expending the additional thought and work to generate the introductory and concluding materials necessary to tie these diverse studies together into a more meaningful aggregate for their readership. In sum, this well-presented volume offers its readers an array of perspectives on a subset of the comparative historical issues that are intriguing premodern scholars in a mode that will be challenging yet still accessible to non-specialists, while both highly engaging and valuable for experts.

When published, a full version of the review will be available here.

*This post has been very slightly adapted for the ILCR from a post written by Lydia Hayes for the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS) blog.