Call for Papers: Legal History in Modern Practice

The Law School at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, is hosting a conference on the subject of Legal History in Modern Practice 22–24 May 2020. This conference aims to provide a forum for the discussion of the part that historical scholarship might play in the development of modern Scottish legal doctrine. Papers addressing any area of Scots law (private or public) are welcomed, as are those which consider the Scottish dimension of international or internationalised areas of law.

Please find the call for papers here. The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 31 October 2019.

British Legal History Conference 2019

The twenty-fourth British Legal History Conference was held in St Andrews, 10–13 July 2019. The organizing team welcomed over 200 delegates to St Salvator’s Quadrangle in St Andrews, where almost 80 speakers across 24 panels and four plenary sessions spoke about the conference’s theme ‘Comparative Legal History’.

The first day started with parallel sessions on topics in medieval, early modern and modern legal history, followed by the first keynote, given by Alice Taylor (King’s College, London), who spoke about the Scottish legal tractate Regiam Majestatem, asking the question ‘What’s does Scotland’s earliest legal tractate actually say (and what does it mean)?’. The day ended with a wine reception in Lower College Hall and sunny Sallie’s Quad.

The next morning saw everyone reconvene for the second plenary session, where Janet McLean (Auckland) presented on ‘Constitutional History, as History’. A day of parallel sessions followed, with panels on, among many other things, William Blackstone, medieval wills and testamentary cases, Scottish law, colonial and wartime law, as well as early medieval Irish and English law. Thanks to the unusually accommodating weather gods, delegates were invited to a wine reception in St John’s Garden at the Department of Medieval History, before setting off to enjoy an evening in St Andrews.

The third day started with another round of parallel sessions on late medieval English, Tudor and colonial law, before Rebecca Probert (Exeter) gave the third plenary talk: ‘What Makes a Marriage? Religion, the State, and the Individual in the Long Nineteenth Century’. The start of the afternoon was set aside for a walking tour of St Andrews, with Dr Bess Rhodes telling the fascinating medieval and Reformation story of the town. The final part of the day saw the third plenary session, which offered something different, namely legal practitioners, who spoke about legal history and their own work in various parts of the legal system. The panel was made up of Justice Geoff Lindsay from the Supreme Court of New South Wales (whose paper is available here), Lorna Drummond QC, Sheriff of Tayside and Fife, and Hector McQueen, formerly of the Scottish Law Commission.

Another evening saw another wine reception, kindly sponsored by the Journal of Legal History, before the conference dinner was held in Lower College Hall, where it was also announced that the 2021 BLHC will be held in Belfast. A tremendously successful ceilidh put a fitting end to the final full day of the conference.

After an evening of Gay Gordons and Dashing White Sergeants, delegates reconvened for a final morning of parallel sessions with papers on topics such as maritime law, divorce law and language choices in medieval law. The final plenary – and the final session of the conference – was given by Ian Williams (UCL), on ‘James VI and I, Rex et Iudex: One King as Judge in Two Kingdoms’.

House of Lords reception for St Andrews Lawyers 4 September 2019

The Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research will host a drinks reception in the House of Lords for St Andrews graduates who have gone into the legal profession, to introduce you to its work and to explore future fundraising efforts.

The event will be in the Attlee Room, and will run from 6.30 to 8.30pm on 4 September 2019. Attendance is free, but is strictly limited to 50 people and an invitation is required. To register to receive an invitation, please email ilcrsta@st-andrews.ac.uk. For further information about the event or the Institute, please contact its Director, Professor John Hudson, at jghh@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Distinguished invitees include Stephen Gethings, MP for North East Fife, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Baron Duncan of Springbank, and Jim Gallagher, formerly the UK government’s most senior adviser on devolution and other constitutional issues, working in the Cabinet office and the number 10 policy unit under Gordon Brown