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Legal History

Legal history research and teaching at Edinburgh Law School focuses on Roman Law in the Ancient World and the Middle Ages, the History of Scots Law, European Legal History and the Legal History of Louisiana, Natural Law and Canon Law, and Slavery.

Academic books

This activity reflects a long tradition in the School as the Chair of Civil Law, founded 1710, was the first active law chair in the University. These fields are covered in a number of different courses, and there is a lively group of postgraduate students. Teaching and research are generally pursued in an interdisciplinary and comparative fashion, drawing on the excellent resources available in Edinburgh, to support historical and comparative research within the civilian tradition.

John W. Cairns, Professor of Civil Law

Paul J. du Plessis, Professor of Roman Law

Lorren EldridgeEarly Career Fellow in Legal History

Hector L. MacQueen, Emeritus Professor of Private Law

Guido Rossi, Reader in European Legal History

Journal articles

Looking a guest horse in the mouth: Proprietary estoppel in English Law
Eldridge, L. In: The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, 20.03.2023, p. 101-107. View article

Leases, rocks, and hard places: Estates without contracts and contracts without estates
Eldridge, L. In: Law Quarterly Review, Vol. 193, 09.03.2023, p. 290-310. View article

Civil-law systems, judges, and the British Empire
Cairns, John W, In: Tulane European and Civil Law Forum, Vol. 37, 19.10.2022, p. 81-105. View article

The nature of the mule 
Du Plessis, Paul J, In: Revista Internacional de Derecho Romano, Vol. 29, 26.10.2022, p. 1-22. View article

Book chapters

Actiones Locati und Conducti
Du Plessis, Paul. Handbuch des Römischen Privatrechts. Ed, Ulrike Babusiaux; Christian Baldus; Wolfgang Ernst; Franz-Stefan Meissel; Johannes Platschek; Thomas Rüfner. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck Gmbh & Co, 2023, p. 2289 - 2314. View chapter

Runaway announcements and narratives of the enslaved
Cairns, J.W. The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, Volume 1: Beginnings and Consolidation 1640–1800. Ed, N Brownlees. Edinburgh University Press, 2023, p. 564-574. View chapter


Ordinatio ad Casum. Legal Causation in Italy (14th-17th Centuries)
Rossi, G. Vittorio Klostermann, 2023. p. 331. View book

Centre for Legal History

The Centre for Legal History provides a lively social and scholarly focus for the active research community – faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and postgraduate students - in legal history, including Civil (Roman) law, in the School of Law.

Visit the Centre for Legal History website

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