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Past events

The Centre for Legal History organises a number of seminar and lecture programmes. Some of our past events are listed here.

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The conference Ancient Law: Outside the Norms explores the broad spectrum of innovative, often interdisciplinary, approaches to the study of ancient law that have emerged in recent years.

Watch the first day of the seminar below


Watch the second day of the Ancient Law: Outside the Norms seminar below



The ius gentium in the Graeco-Roman legal experience (5 May 2023).

Watch the seminar below


Dr Lorren Eldridge (Edinburgh Law School), Law and the Medieval Village Community: Reinvigorating Historical Jurisprudence (24 April 2023)

Prof. Paul J. du Plessis (Edinburgh Law School) and Dr Ulrike Roth (Edinburgh School of History, Classics and Archaeology) Ancient Law in Context - “Law and Education” an interdisciplinary research network meeting (21 - 22 April 2023)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Good faith in European Contract Law and Bona fides in Roman contract law (30 March 2023)

Dr Lorena Atzeri (Research Fellow Università degli Studi, Milan) The Pauli Sententiae and their interpretationes in the Context of the Lex Romana Visigothorum (506 AD) (24 March 2023)

Prof. Brian Tamanaha (Washington University, St Louis) Forum for Historical Jurisprudence: Central Themes of Historical Jurisprudence (25 November 2022)

Prof. René Brouwer (University of Utrecht) The origins of the notion of natural law (14 October 2022)

Prof. Hector MacQueen (Edinburgh Law School) and Alan Borthwick (National Records of Scotland) Law, Lordship and Tenure: The Fall of the Black Douglases (6 October 2022)

Prof. Ian Maclean (University of Oxford and University of St Andrews) ‘Strictum ius’: early modern legalism in continental civil law (27 September 2022)

Prof. Matt Dyson (University of Oxford) Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History (26 September 2022)

Dr. Daniele Curir (The University of Genoa) Donationem non facit? Donations to people in potestate of the donor in Roman Law (21 September 2022)

Dr Lorren Eldridge (Edinburgh Law School), Using History in Law: Roman law, Custom, and Historical Jurisprudence (29 April 2022)

Dr Christine Lehne-Gstreinthaler (St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research) The Role of Time in Roman Criminal Law (3 February 2022)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Institutions and Popular Participation in the Roman Republic (25 Nov 2021)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Seller’s liability for latent defects in Roman law (28 Oct 2021)

Dr Lisa Pilar Eberle (Assistant Professor, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen), The edicts of the praetors: law, politics and revolution in ancient Rome (28 Oct 2021)

Professor Helen Scott (Professor of Private Law, University of Oxford), Ulpian and the theft of incorporeals (ERLG, 18 Mar 2021)

Professor Anna Tarwacka (The Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University (UKSW) in Warsaw), Selling laughter. Philogelos jokes on sales contracts (ERLG, 18 Feb 2021)

Fergus Smith (Independent Researcher), Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History: Civil Litigants in Nineteenth-Century Sheriff Courts (02 Dec 2020)

The Henry Goudy Seminar, 'Acquiring Ownership: Accessio, Specificatio and Treasure Trove' (ERLG, 24 Nov 2020)

Professor Dr. Jakob Fortunat Stagl (Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile), 'The Death of the Jurist. Aporiai of the “Biographical Approach”' (ERLG, 12 Nov 2020)

Dr Rebecca Mason (University of Glasgow), Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History: With Her Consent? Patriarchy, Property and Law in Early Modern Scotland (29 Oct 2020)

The Henry Goudy Seminar: "Becoming a Roman Citizen" (27 Oct 2020)

Dr Kazuhiro Matsumoto (Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Visiting Research Fellow of IALS London) 'Translating and Publishing a Collection of Legal Maxims in Meiji-Era Japan: An Endeavour to Understand the Ideas of Western Law' (21 Feb 2020)

Prof. Paul J. du Plessis (Edinburgh Law School), The Alan Watson Memorial Lectures: The Civil Law in Three Acts - Act 3 (20 Feb 2020)

Prof. Paul J. du Plessis (Edinburgh Law School), The Alan Watson Memorial Lectures: The Civil Law in Three Acts - Act 2 (13 Feb 2020)

Prof. Paul J. du Plessis (Edinburgh Law School), The Alan Watson Memorial Lectures: The Civil Law in Three Acts - Act 1 (06 Feb 2020)

Professor Caroline Humfress (University of St Andrews), Peter Chiene Lecture: Beyond (Roman) Law and Empire (31 Jan 2020)

Jonathan Ainslie (Edinburgh Law School), Economic Fragmentation in the Late Roman Empire and its Legal Consequences (24 Jan 2020)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Moralism and Divorce (21 Jan 2020)

SIHDA 2019 Conference - LXXIIIe Session de la Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité (2 – 7 September 2019)

Professor Dr. Ulrike Babusiaux (University of Zurich), Fideicommissa as a Legal Revolution under the Principate (ERLG, 22 Nov 219)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Slavery and Agency (29 Oct 2019)

Professor Dr. Eva Jakab (University of Szeged, Hungary), Law and identity. Considerations about citizenship and succession in provincial practice (ERLG, 04 Oct 2019)

Viviana Kluger (Lawyer and Doctor of Law, University of Buenos Aires), The Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History: The formation of the Argentinian legal system (25 Sept 2019)

Mathias Schmoeckel (Institute of German and Rhenish Legal History), The Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History: A Legal Perspective on the Scottish Protestant Reformation (18 Sept 2019)

Dr Peter Candy, Water and Waterways Management in the Roman Empire (18-19 May 20219)

Graduate Seminar: Professor Bruce W. Frier, 'Common Things: The Mysterious Seashore' (13 May 2019)

The Centre for Legal History and the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research (St Andrews) jointly hosted Professor Frier's lecture, 'What Held Roman Law Together?' at St Andrews (10 May 2019) 

Dr Gergely Deli (Széchenyi István University), 'Ulpian's Legal Thought' (ERLG, 4 Apr 2019)

Dr Peter Sarris (Cambridge), ‘Justinian’s Novels and Legal Culture and the End of Antiquity’ (ERLG, 15 Mar 2019)

Alan Watson Memorial Lectures:Slavery and the Law in 18th-Century Scotland, Professor John W. Cairns (14 February 2019: Enslaved and Enslavers in Scotland; 21 February 2019: Managing the Enslaved?;28 February 2019: Challenging Enslavement)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Plutarch's Parallel Lives, Lycurgus and Numa

Professor Bernard Stolte (Groningen), 'Tituli Privati Erga Omnes' (ERLG, 23 Nov 2018)

Warren Swain Seminar (hosted jointly with the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law) (25 Oct 2018)

Henry Goudy Seminar: Digest 1.2.2 (Pomponius, Enchiridion) (19 Oct 2018)

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Paul J du Plessis, 'Reflections on Futures Past' (10 Oct 2018)

Workshop: Ancient Law in Context 9: Poverty, Wealth and the Law (1–2 June 2018)

Workshop: Legal Authorities in Early Modern Legal Reasoning (25-16 May 2018)

Dr Philip Kay (Oxford), 'The Effectiveness of the Early Roman Law of Contract for Bankers: An Economic Historian's View' (ERLG, 16 Mar 2018)

Henry Goudy Seminar: The opening title of the Digest, D.1.1. (23 Mar 2018)

Book Launch for Guido Rossi's Insurance in Elizabethan England: The London Code (CUP 2016) (29 Mar 2018)

Workshop: Family Law(s) Under the Roman Empire (30 Nov-1 Dec 2017)

Workshop: The Dawn of Roman Law (6-8 Dec 2017)

Prof. Thomas McGinn (Vanderbilt), 'The XII Tables and the History of the Patria Potestas' (Public Lecture co-sponsored by Edinburgh Law School and Classics in HCA, 28 Nov 2017)

Prof. Michel Morin (Montreal), 'The Survival and Vitality of The Civil Law Tradition in Quebec, 1760-2017' (Peter Chiene Lecture, 3 Nov 2017)

Prof. David Kremer (Université Paris Descartes), 'The Use of Fiction in the Classification of Obligations by Source in the Time of Justinian' (ERLG, 27 Oct 2017)

Prof.Aniceto Masferrer (Valencia), 'The notion of human dignity in Historical Retrospective: from Eleanor Roosevelt to Francisco de Vitoria’ (AWS, 6 Oct 2017)

Henry Goudy Seminar: The Lesser Declamations of Quintilian (13 Oct 2017)

Book launch for Karen Baston's, Charles Areskine's Library: Scottish Lawyers and their Books at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment (Brill 2016) (29 Sept 2017)

Prof. Jaakko Husa (Lapland) -  'Comparative Law and Legal History - a Match Made in Heaven?' (MacCormick Fellow Seminar Series, 19 Sept 2017)
Conference: Ancient Law in Context - 'Law and the State' (ALC, 2-3 June 2017) 

Prof. Wouter Druwé (FWO/KU Leuven) - 'Unilateral termination of annuity contracts in learned legal practice in the Low Countries (ca. 1500 – 1650)'  (AWS, 26 May 2017)

Prof. Ido Israelowich (Tel Aviv University), 'The Role and Function of Arbitri in Boundary Disputes' (ERLG, 20 Jan 2017)

Prof. Lorena Atzeri (Milan), 'Britain and Interpolation Criticism: Periphery or Center?' (ERLG, 7 April 2017)

Workshop: Law in Theory and History: A Neglected Dialogue (28 April 2017) (Read a report on the conference here.)

Ancient Law in Context research network (28-29 October 2016). 'Status and law'.

D. L. Dusenbury, 'The Judgement of Pontius Pilate: A Critique of Giorgio Agamben' (ERLG, 7 Oct 2016)

Conference: 'A very British pursuit – Studies in the lex Aquilia' (8 July 2016)

Prof. Matthew Mirow (Florida International University School of Law), 'Florida's Forgotten British Legal Past' (10 May 2016)

Prof. Orazio Condorelli (Catania University) 'Scotland and the Ius Commune: Customs, Litigation and Papal Decretals' (AWS, 20 April 2016)

Prof. Caroline Humfress (St Andrews) 'Natural Laws and the "Hypothetical Case" in Roman Juristic Texts' (ERLG, 11 March 2016)

Prof. Andreas Rahmatian (Glasgow), 'Lord Kames: Legal and Social Theorist (EUP 2015)' (New Book Discussions, 15 Jan 2016) [Discussant: Dr James Harris (St Andrews)]

Prof. Paul Mitchell (UCL) (ERLG, 6 November 2015)

Prof. Elia Marzal (Ramon Llull University), 'The Sentencia Arbitral de Guadalupe of 1486 - Stages of Incentives for Land Liberalisation in Medieval Hispanic Kingdoms' (1 June 2015)

Prof. Lorenzo Gagliardi (Milan), 'Classical and Byzantine Texts on the Action for the Undutiful Will with Multiple Compulsory Heirs: Exegetical and Reconstructive Thoughts' (ERLG, 8 May 2015)

Prof. Dave de Ruysscher (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) and MacCormick Fellow,  'Voluntary Bankruptcy in the Sixteenth Century Low Countries: Municipal Law, Doctrine and Economic Policy' (3 Apr 2015)

Prof. Igor E. Mineo (University of Palermo), 'Historicising the Common Good: The Ambiguous Relationship between "Common Good" and "Commons"' (AWS, 27 Mar 2015)

Ancient Law in Context 5: Law and Religion (20-21 Mar 2015)

Prof. Emanuele Conte, 'Legal Arguments: The Medieval Origins of a European Invention' (AWS, 17 Mar 2015)

Dr James Lee (Dickson Poon School of Law, KCL) and MacCormick Fellow, 'Property: An Essay in Fan Fiction' (3 Dec 2014)

Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society Conference (12-15 June 2014)

Workshop:Accounting Techniques and Accounting Practices in Roman Law (ERLG, 30 May 2014)

Dr Xavier Prévost (Sorbonne Law School (Université Paris I - Ecole nationale des chartes, Paris) 'The Use of the Glossators and Commentators by Jacques Cujas (1522-1590): A Humanist Criticism of the Medieval Jurisprudence' (AWS (formerly LHDG), 2 May 2014)

Dr Philipp Scheibelreiter (University of Vienna/Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich) 'Between utendum dare and beneficium: thoughts on the early history of commodatum' (ERLG, 28 March 2014)

Dr Gérard Minaud (Fellow of the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study and Associated researcher in the Centre Camille Jullian (CNRS, Aix-Marseille University)), 'The Legal Status of Tradespeople in Ancient Rome' (ERLG, 22 March 2013)

Dr Saskia Roselaar (Nottingham), 'The ius conubii in the Roman Republic - theory and practice' (ERLG, 9 Nov 2012)

‘Law and Economy’ (ALC Workshop, 30 Nov – 1 Dec 2012)

Dr Steven Neff (Edinburgh), 'Hugo Grotius: The Forgotten Conservative' (LHDG, 19 Oct 2012)

Ancient Law in Context (ALC Conference, 1-2 June 2012)

New Perspectives on locatio conductio in Roman Law (ERLG Conference, 6-7 June 2012)

'The question of the relationship between slavery and the law' (ALC Meeting, 1-2 June 2012)

Professor John W. Cairns FRSE, 'Conveyancing, Slavery and Scots Lawyers' (LHDG, 30 Mar 2012)

Professor Dr Andreas Thier (Professor of Legal History, Canon Law, Legal Theory and Private Law at the University of Zurich), 'The Prince's Power over Money and Medieval Canon Law' (ERLG, 16 Mar 2012)

Professor Timothy Barnes, FBA, FRSC (Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Toronto and Honorary Professorial Fellow School of Divinity & School of History, Classics and Archaeology University of Edinburgh) 'The Lex Dei on Male Homosexuality: A Reinterpretation of Leviticus and its Implications' (ERLG, 17 Feb 2012)

Mr Remus Valsan (Lecturer in Corporate Law, University of Edinburgh),'Error of conscience and conflict of interest in fiduciary law' (LHDG, 23 Nov 2011)

Professor Paul Finkelman (Albany Law School), 'Constitutional Slavery' (LHDG, 28 Oct 2011)

Professor Boudewijn Sirks (Oxford), 'The Parallel Universes of Baker, Joblin and Julian: Causation and Law' (Peter Chiene Lecture, 14 Oct 2011)

Professor Thomas Rufner (Trier), 'Labour Law and the Ius Commune: Locatio conductio operarum in the writings of 17th and 18th century jurists' (ERLG, 7 Oct 2011)

Afternoon seminar on the topic of 'obligations'. Speakers included: Roberto Fiori, Professor of Roman law, University of Rome (Tor Vergata): 'The rise and fall of the specificity of contracts' and Maria Floriana Cursi, Professor of Roman law, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Teramo: 'What did occidere iniuria in the Lex Aquilia actually mean?' (ERLG, 12 Aug 2011)

Louisiana: The Legal History of Europe in a Single US State (CLH Workshop, 20-21 May 2011)

Dr Jakub Urbanik (Warsaw University), 'Marriage and Divorce: a Study in Legal Pluralism in Roman Egypt' (ERLG, 1 Apr 2011)

Professor Dr Filippo Ranieri (Saarland University), 'An Encounter with the Common Law at the University of Göttingen in the Mid-eighteenth Century: On the Commentatio iuris exotici historica de iure communi Angliae of Christian Hartmann Samuel Gatzert' (ERLG, 4 Mar 2011)

Dr Eric Descheemaeker (University of Bristol), 'Dividing Wrongs: The Civilian Experience' (ERLG, 29 Jan 2010)

Legal History for Legal Practice (CLH Workshop, 22 May 2009)

Dr Caroline Humfress (Birkbeck College, University of London), 'The Late Roman episcopalis audientia: How (Not) to Make Sense of the Legal Evidence' (ERLG, 1 May 2009)

Dr Simon Corcoran (University College London), 'Justinian and his two codes: revisiting P. Oxy. 1814' (ERLG, 27 Mar 2009)

Professor Wojciech Dajczak (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan), 'Res Incorporales: Debate about the Materiality of Property in light of the Roman law tradition' (ERLG, Winter 2009)

'From Casus to Regula (International Conference organised by the Edinburgh Roman Law Group and the Centre for Legal History,12-13 December 2008) (Papers from small, highly successful, expert conference have been published as The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula (Edinburgh University Press 2010). See Edinburgh Legal History Blog for a list of chapters.) 

Dr James Lee (University of Birmingham), 'Confusio: Developing English Private law through Reference to Roman law' (26 Nov 2008) Joint meeting of the ERLG and the Edinburgh Legal Theory Reading Group

Professor Jose Luis Alonso (University of San Sebastian),'Hypallagma or Law without Lawyers' (ERLG, 21 Nov 2008)

Professor Michael Crawford (University College London), 'The Development of Law in the Late Roman Republic' (ERLG, 2 May 2008)

'The Use of Roman law in Recent Scottish cases' (ERLG Workshop, 18 Apr 2008)

Professor Laurent Waelkens (Catholic University of Leuven), 'Causa Obligationis: Classical Roman Law from the 16th Century' (ERLG, 22 Feb 2008)

Professor William Gordon (Professor Emeritus of Civil Law, Glasgow University), 'Roman Law and All That' (ERLG, 30 Nov 2007)

The Centre hosted a small conference on the Court of Session and the College of Justice in 2001.