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Members and Associates

Old College stonework - Glorious University

Dr Karen Baston
Dr Baston manages the Centre's web pages and Twitter account. Her legal history research interests include Scottish lawyers' libraries of the long eighteenth century and Session Papers. She recently worked on a project about library borrowing registers from the University of Glasgow in the mid-18th century.
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Professor John W. Cairns
After early research on the comparative legal history of Louisiana and Quebec, Professor Cairns has devoted himself to the study of the legal literature of Scotland and England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and to a long term research project on the relationship between legal thought and legal education in the Scottish enlightenment. He has published extensively in those fields in Britain, North America, continental Europe and Japan. He is currently researching law and slavery in eighteenth-century Scotland and completing a monograph on the history of Scots law.
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Professor Paul J. du Plessis (Director of the Centre for Legal History)
Professor du Plessis' research interests include Roman law the historical development of the civilian tradition in mixed jurisdictions, the relationship between law and history as well as between law and society in a historical context. Secondary research interests include the development of European Private Law, Comparative Law and International Private Law.
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Dr Lorren Eldridge
Lorren Eldridge is an Early Career Fellow in Legal History at the University of Edinburgh. She is a lawyer and legal historian whose research focuses on the relationship between legal history and legal theory. She is particularly interested in English land law, both medieval and more recent, and in the legal philosophical approach and method known as historical jurisprudence. She is currently working on a monograph on English medieval village communities and a project on the history of leases in English law.
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Dr. Renske Jannsen
Dr KPS (Renske) Janssen was awarded a Dutch Research Council’s (NWO) Rubicon Postdoctoral Fellowship in early 2022. Her research project is focussed on legal thinking in the works of the Roman author and magistrate Cornelius Tacitus, which provide invaluable insights into the ways in which educated Romans could perceived the law, and how they viewed its role in wider society.  The project will systematically analyse the way in which Tacitus discussed the origins and role of the law, its beneficiaries and its application, and connect this thinking to the wider legal discourse of his time. This interdisciplinary approach will shed a light on legal thinking among educated non-experts in the Roman Imperial Period, and will as such look beyond the professional sphere of the jurists, whose specialist work has long dominated scholarship in the field. As such, it allows us to gain new insights into wider societal thinking about the role of law during a period in which attitudes towards the Roman legal system were starting to change in both the provinces and the imperial administration.
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María Jesús Ithurria
María Jesús Ithurria is the student representative for the Centre for Legal History. She is pursuing a PhD in Law at the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis focuses on a comparative assessment of the liability of the seller for latent defects in the thing sold. María's primary research interests are Civil law, Comparative law and Legal History.
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Professor Hector MacQueen
Professor MacQueen has written extensively on the law of medieval Scotland, making comparative use of English law in particular, but also considering canon law and the Celtic laws of medieval Ireland and Wales. He has also worked on later perceptions of medieval law in Scotland, and has recently developed a significant body of work on modern legal nationalism considered in its historical context. He has also worked on the doctrinal history of the law of obligations, often in collaboration with David Sellar. Professor MacQueen was also a Commissioner at the Scottish Law Commission from 2009 to 2018.
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Dr Guido Rossi
Guido Rossi joined the School of Law in 2013. His main research interests lie in Legal History, especially late medieval ius commune (both Civil and Canon law) and early modern mercantile law. Secondary research interests include Roman law and Comparative law.
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The category of associate member was created in 2017 to give recognition to the extensive international connections that the members of the Centre maintain with legal historians and modern lawyers whose research touches on aspects of legal history from across the world.

Associate members serve for an initial period of 3 years and advise the Centre and its board on matters relating to the furthering of the cause of Roman law and legal history. It is a mark of great distinction to be invited to serve as an associate member.

Professor Orazio Condorelli (Università di Catania)

Professor Caroline Humfress (St Andrews)

Professor Luca Loschiavo (Università di Teramo) 

Professor Dr Peter Oestmann (Universität Münster)

Professor Norma Dawson, CBE (Queen’s University, Belfast)

Professor Catharine Macmillan (King’s College, London)

Colin Bathgate is researching ' The Invention of Ownership in Scottish Legal Thought'. View profile

Matthew Cleary is researching 'Canon-Common Law Jurisdictional Relations: Royal Authority, Sanctuary and Conservative Clergymen, 1485-1540'. View profile

Brandon Clydesdale is researching 'The Impact of Enlightenment Legislative Science on the Civilian Tradition in Scots Commercial Law: a study of pleading before the Court of Session in commercial litigation c. 1750-1800'

Victoria Kent-Baguley is researching 'Slavery and taxation in the British Empire'

Houman Mortazavi is researching 'The reception of the Romano-Canonical rules on “strict liability” and the creation of the law of “delict” in Scots Law: from the European ius commune to the contemporary era' View profile

María Jesús Ithurria is researching 'Historical - dogmatic study of the responsibility for redhibitory vices'. View profile

Kongsatja Suwanapech is researching 'The Legacies of the Codification of Thai Criminal Law: A study of History, Legal culture, and the Thai Penal Code'. View profile

Lisa Cowan is researching 'the respective influences of the civil law and English law on the doctrine of judicial immunity in Scots law from the Renaissance onwards'. View profile

Current Visitors 

  • Anna Barbano - Anna Barbano is a Ph.D. Candidate in Law at the University of Genoa. In 2020 she graduated cum laude with a five-year Master’s degree in Law with a research thesis deemed fit for publication. Her Ph.D. project focuses on the relationship between law and language in the documents of legal practice in the Roman West world. 
  • Thomas McSweeney - Thomas McSweeney is Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He earned his J.D. and Ph.D. in medieval history at Cornell University, and his B.A. at William & Mary. Professor McSweeney's research focuses on the early history of the common law. He is particularly interested in the ways the judges and lawyers of the thirteenth century taught and learned the law. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the  Ames Foundation, which funds research in legal history, and in November of 2021 began a five-year term as an editor for the American Society for Legal History’s book series, Cambridge Studies in Legal History, at Cambridge University Press. 


Recent Visitors

  • Dr Jonathan Horton KC (Nov 2022 - Feb 2023) - Dr Horton KC practices in public and constitutional law in Australia, in litigious and advisory contexts, and in public inquiries. His PhD topic (Edinburgh, 2015) was an historical and philosophical critique of the main proponents of omnicompetent popular assemblies and exposing an incompleteness in the arguments that underpin attempts to frame a dignity for legislation in its modern guise. 
  • Pengfei Su (2023) - Pengfei Su holds an LL.B. in International Business Law and a Master’s Degree in Legal History from Fudan University (Shanghai) and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was on the editorial staff of the Michigan Journal of International Law. Previously he taught a course on international business law at Fudan University.  Prior to coming to visit Edinburgh Law School, he practiced company and commercial laws in Shanghai.  He has published about 10 articles and/or book chapters on a wide range of law-related topics (including 4 English-language research papers on comparative legal history).
  • Dr Daniele Curir (2022) - Dr Curir's PhD project focused on the analysis of donation in Roman Law, aiming at understanding the perception of acts of liberality and its evolving during classical age. The phenomenon of donation is interesting in Roman Law since it has a particular development in legal approach. In fact the donation, after having been considered as the cause of different legal transactions, became a contract under the emperor Costantin, who gave rise to a relevant reform.
  • Dr Marzena Wojtczak (2020) - Dr Wojtczak is an assistant professor and the Chair of Roman Law and the Law of Antiquity at the University of Warsaw. She is a legal historian whose research focuses on the comparative analysis of the normative sources of Roman law and the documents of legal practice, in order to (re)construct how law was understood and applied in late antiquity. By treating law as a tool of social regulation her research runs along the lines of the history of mentality and legal awareness in antiquity, a field that recently receives its well deserved attention. In her work she concentrates on the dialogue that takes place between the legislation (law in books) and practice (law in practice) which aims at a deeper understanding of the Roman law. Whereas the traditional methods of juristic papyrology focus on the differences between the state law (Reichsrecht) and the provincial law (Volksrecht), her aim is to get to the bottom of those dissimilarities and to indicate the behavioural patterns.
  • Silvia Romanò (2019) - Silvia Romanò pursued a PhD in Foundations of European Private Law at the University of Verona Faculty of Law since 2018. She graduated cum laude in law from the University of Padua in 2017 and was a teaching assistant in Roman Law and Foundations of European Private Law at the University of Milano Statale. In her research she focuses on the origins of the punitive function of European civil liability starting from the Roman Law - in particular, from the delicta - and coming up to the present day. 
  • Piotr Alexandrowicz (2017) - Piotr Alexandrowicz pursued a PhD at the Faculty of Law and Administration of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Graduated both in law and in theology, in his research he concentrates on the history of contract law and the influence of canon law on civil law.
  • Wouter Druwé (2017) - Wouter Druwé studied law (MLaw 2013), canon law (MA 2015) and theology (BA 2013) at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven). For his master's thesis on scandalum in the Bolognese decretistic and in papal decretals (c. 1140 - 1234), he was awarded the 2016 prize of the KU Leuven Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies for the university's best master's thesis in that field. He undertook research stays in Zürich and Oxford, presented papers at national and international conferences, and published several articles in the field of legal history.
  • Lucia Zandrino (2017) - Lucia Zandrino graduated in Law from the University of Turin, Italy. In 1999, she took a Doctorate in Roman Law and Antiquity Laws at the University of Padua and became Ph. Doctor in 2003. She has held several research fellowships (‘Assegno di Ricerca’) from the University of Turin and she has published two monographs: La delegatio nel diritto romano. Profilisemantici ed elementi di fattispecie (2010) and Ladelegatio nel diritto romano. Effetti giuridicie profili di invalidità (2014).
  • Justine Roulin (2016) - Justine Roulin began a PhD study in Early Modern Moral and Political Philosophy at Lausanne University (Switzerland) in July 2014. Roulin's dissertation is part of the research project “Natural law in Switzerland and beyond: sociability, natural equality and social inequality”, directed by Professor Simone Zurbuchen. The project aimed to study the natural law tradition in the age of Enlightenment, through the analysis of the social relationships within the household (between husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants). 

The Centre for Legal History has proud tradition of honouring outstanding scholars in the field of Roman law. The University of Edinburgh has given honorary doctorates to:

Tony Honoré: LL.D. honoris causa 1977

Alan Watson: LL.D. honoris causa 2002

Laurens Winkel: LL.D. honoris causa 2013

Wolfgang Ernst: LL.D. honoris causa 2017 

Professor Norma Dawson: LL.D. honoris causa 2023