Membership of the Society is open to anyone. Our Society includes members of the judiciary, practising lawyers, academic lawyers, historians, students and members of the general public.
The Irish Legal History Society examines, explores and engages with all issues relating to legal history on this island, from earliest times to the present day. Founded in 1988, the Society holds two Discourses annually, as well as publishing scholarly works on a range of legal history subjects. On this website you can see our range of publications, you can find out about our recent and future events, as well as information about joining.
The first volume Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England was published 250 years ago. The Yale Law Library is marking the anniversary with an exhibition, “250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries.” The exhibition is curated by Wilfrid Prest of Adelaide and Michael Widener, the Rare Book Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, and consists of more than 40 items, all from the Yale Law Library’s collection, depicting the origins of the Commentaries, its remarkable success as a textbook, and its impact on both legal and popular culture.
The items include a volume annotated by one of Blackstone’s students, a legal treatise with Blackstone’s own handwritten marginalia, the first English editions of the Commentaries, early Irish and American pirated editions, abridgments, teaching aids, student manuscripts, critiques, translations (into French, German, Italian, and Chinese), and a 1963 liquor advertisement.
From September -November this travelling exhibition will be available to view at the Middle Temple Library in London, details of which can be found here.
Our 2013 volume Lawyers, the Law and History, edited by Felix M Larkin and Norma Dawson, has recently received favourable reviews in both the James Joyce Quarterly ('superbly edited') and the Law Quarterly Review ('well-researched').
The Organising Committee of the 4th Biennal Conference and the Executive Council of the European Society for Comparative Legal History are pleased to call for papers for the upcoming conference to be held on 28 June – 1 July 2016 at the University of Gdańsk (Poland) on: “Culture, Identity and Legal Instrumentalism”. The main theme picks up threads of thought from the earlier ESCLH conferences in Valencia (2010), Amsterdam (2012) and Macerata (2014).
The conference will focus on the issue of law as an instrument of transforming reality in the individual cultural circles and sub-circles of Europe and the world. Papers addressing this theme are welcome.
1. To offer a paper, please send the title of their paper, a short abstract (of 200-400 (strict maximum) words) and a short CV (no more than 4 pages) by 15 November 2015 to the organizing committee, c/o Anna Klimaszewska, University of Gdańsk (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michał Gałędek, University of Gdańsk (email@example.com).
2. The presentations should be in English.
3. It is also possible to submit a complete proposal for one or more panels (3-4 papers for every panel).
4. The list of accepted papers will be announced by 6 December 2015.
Shortly, a conference website will be launched with fuller details.
We are delighted to announce the launch of W.N. Osborough's The Irish Stage: A Legal History (Four Courts Press 2015) on Thursday 8 October at 6.30 p.m. at Books Upstairs, 17 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2
Members of the society will, as always, receive a free copy of the book; copies will also be available to purchase at the launch.
Drama, opera, ballet, circuses, concerts and puppet-shows: down the years, all these species of live entertainment faced innumerable difficulties in Ireland.
The challenges that are the focus in this unusual study are those that touched on matters of law. Assorted venues encountered episodes of censorship and of riot.
Safety of buildings, performers’ contracts, dramatic authors’ performing rights, liquor licensing all merit attention too, as, indeed, necessarily must the issue of the lawfulness of any ‘theatrical’ activity itself, given the ill-defined powers of the Irish Master of the Revels (1638–1830) and the controls exerciseable under the Dublin Stage Regulation Act (1786–1997).
Books Upstairs is an independent bookshop and literary venue in Dublin city centre, and home to the Dublin Review of Books.
The Attorney general for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, presented a lecture entitled 'The rise and fall of the Irish Manor Courts 1785-1859' on Thursday 17 September 2015, at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Further details about the event may be found here.
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, a member of the ILHS Council, has recently been appointed Chair of the Irish Research Council. Professor Ohlmeyer is the Erasmus Smith Professor of Modern History at Trinity and a Fellow of the College.
Further details about the IRC can be found here: http://www.research.ie/
The latest edition (33:3) of the Law and History Review (the journal of the American Society for Legal History) is out:
- Legacies of British Colonial Violence: Viewing Kenyan Detention Camps through the Hanslope Disclosure Aoife Duffy
- A “Manifest Violation” of the Rights of Englishmen: Rights Talk and the Law of Property in Early Eighteenth-Century Jamaica Lee B. Wilson
- Olmsted's Police David Thacher
- “Beyond the Pale of Mercy”: Victorian Penal Culture, Police Court Missionaries, and the Origins of Probation in England Sascha Auerbach
- “The Peculiar Anomaly”: Same-Sex Infidelity in Postwar Divorce Courts Alison Lefkovitz
- Marrying “Well”: Debating Consanguinity, Matrimonial Law, and Brazilian Legal Medicine, 1890–1930 Okezi Otovo
Further information about the Review and how to access articles is available here.
The European Society of International Law's Interest Group on History of International Law's 2015 workshop will take place in Oslo from 10-12 September.
This forms part of the upcoming XI ESIL Annual Conference on "The Judicialization of International Law - A Mixed Blessing?").
Two panels have been composed from over 30 submissions. Details are available here
The 34th Annual Conference of the ANZLHS will be held from 10 to 12 December at the University of Adelaide. See here for details.
The keynote speakers are:
Amalia Kessler (Stanford),
David Lieberman, (UC Berkeley),
Michael Lobban (LSE),
Kristen McKenzie (Sydney),
Wes Pue (UBC),
Philip Schofield (UCL).
The American Society for Legal History was founded in 1956 to foster interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching in the broad field of legal history. Although based in the United States, its purview and membership are international in scope. The Society sponsors a quarterly journal, the Law and History Review, and a book series, Studies in Legal History, both of which are published for the Society by Cambridge University Press.
The ASLH annual conference takes place in Washington, DC from 29 October –1 Nov. The 2016 conference will be in Toronto.
For general information about the Society visit http://aslh.net/ or write to:
Professor Sally Hadden
Secretary, American Society for Legal History
4301 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5334 USA
Fax: (269) 387-4651
A number of members of the Society including the President attended the British Legal History Conference at Reading in July 2015. The theme of the conference was Law: Challenges to Authority and the Recognition of Rights. The Society provided some of the seed capital for the conference along with the Selden Society and the Legal History Society of Wales. There were a significant number of delegates from the United States and Canada along with a group from Australia.
From Ireland, six members of the ILHS presented papers:-
Dr Donal Coffey, University of Surrey: A reconsideration of the Imperial Conference of 1926 and conference on the operation of dominion legislation 1929
Dr Kevin Costello, UCD: Mandamus and parish politics 1620-1800
Dr Coleman Dennehy, UCD and UCL: Assize Justice in restoration Clonmel
Dr Conor Hanley, NUI Galway: Judgement by one’s peers? Radical and trade unionist views of jury trial in Victorian Britain
Dr Niamh Howlin, UCD: Challenging authority: criminal justice responses in Ireland
Dr Andrew Lyall: Granville Sharp’s MS Cases on Slavery
The conference included a visit to the site of the sealing of Magna Carta where the event is commemorated by an imposing memorial erected by the American Bar Association. This was followed by a paper entitled Magna Carta- the beginning of the Myth delivered Sir John Baker QC, Downing Prof of Laws (Emeritus) at Cambridge, aboard the Queen of the Thames as it cruised the river by the meadow at Runnymede. Sir John is a gold medallist of the ILHS and has been a member of the Society since its inception. It was a most enjoyable afternoon completed with an English cream tea.
Over 70 papers were delivered in a series of sessions over the four days and great credit goes to Professor Catherine Macmillan and her team from the University of Reading for the flawless organisation of the four days. One feature of the conference was a session at which twelve Ph.D. candidates presented papers on Criminal Justice in Empire, Anglican Ecclesiastical law, Law Religion and Excluded Groups and Processes, Rights and Colonies.
Professor Rebecca Probert of the School of Law at Warwick delivered a fascinating address to a plenary session entitled Victorian Bigamists – Challenging authority or claiming rights?
The next conference will be held at University College London in July 2017. The exact date of that conference remains to be fixed and a call for papers will be made in due course.
PARNELL SUMMER SCHOOL, 9–13 August 2015
The theme of the 2015 Parnell Summer School is ‘The French Connection – Ireland and France’. It will be an opportunity to reflect on parallels between France and Ireland, and to celebrate the close associations – cultural, intellectual and political – between our two countries.
These associations, grounded in our shared love of liberty and finding expression today in our common membership of the European Community, stretch back through the United Irishmen to the Wild Geese and beyond. They include giants of Irish literature like Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett and also the Irish participation in iconic battles of both the Napoleonic wars and the First World War. This is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo; and the victor of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, was an Irishman. Parnell and his mother’s family had many connections with Paris.
The Charlie Hebdo massacre in January adds a certain poignancy to the choice of theme this year. There has been a lot of interest in Ireland in the fallout from that tragic event, and the Summer School will host a panel discussion on the issues that it raises.
The 2015 Parnell Summer School will be held, as usual, in the beautiful setting of the Avondale demesne, Parnell’s ancestral home, and the speakers include leading authorities from Ireland, Britain, France and America. All are welcome to attend, and there is a limited number of scholarships available for students who wish to attend.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 9th
6:30: Official opening
17:00: Keynote Address
Professor Wesley Hutchinson, Professor of Irish Studies, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris-3 – Irish studies in France: connections, go-betweens and networks
19:30: Informal social evening at the Woodenbridge Hotel
MONDAY, AUGUST 10th
10:00: Lecture: Dr Patrick Claffey, Department of Religions and Theology, Trinity College Dublin – Laïcité: value or ideology
11:30: Lecture: Dr Patrick Geoghegan, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin – Waterloo: a battle of 'giants'
14:15: Panel Discussion: Charlie Hebdo and free speech
- Brian Trench, School of Communications, Dublin City University
- Dr Neville Cox, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
- Felix M. Larkin, Academic Director, Parnell Summer School
19:30: French Wine Tasting: The Irish Wine Geese – yesterday and today, Katrina McEvoy, O’Brien’s Fine Wines, Ballybrack, Woodenbridge Hotel
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11th
10:00: Lecture: Professor James H. Murphy, English Department, DePaul University, Chicago – From Waterloo to war movies, via Tolstoy’s Irish inspiration
11:30: Lecture: Professor Hugh Gough, Department of History, University College Dublin - The guillotine and capital punishment in France, 1792-1981
14:15: Guided Bus Tour: Aghavannagh, Parnell's hunting lodge & later John Redmond's home
20:30: Informal social evening at the Woodenbridge Hotel
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12th
10:00: Parnell Lecture: Frank Callanan SC – Contesting patriotisms: Conor Cruise O’Brien, France and Parnell
11:30: Lecture: Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Department of History, University of Sheffield – Un regard particulier: Sean MacBride, France and Ireland
14:15: Lecture: Dr Declan Downey, Department of History, University College Dublin – Francophone Cosmopolitans at Continental Courts, 1700-1900: les émigrés irlandais et ceux qui sont retournés
20:00: Gala dinner, Woodenbridge Hotel
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13th
10:00: Lectures: Liam Murphy – Alsace: a proud region between France and Germany and Canon J. Anthony Gaughan – The Irish Embassy in Paris: in praise of women
11:30: Lecture: Oliver O’Hanlon, Department of French, University College Cork – 'French letters' in Irish newspapers and periodicals: the epistolatory form and the Franco-Irish relationship
14.15: Lecture: Dr Sylvie Kleinman, Department of History, Trinity College, Dublin – Surviving Centenaries in Republican Culture: Musings on Franco-American Memory and Commemoration
For further information and bookings, please contact the Secretary of the Parnell Society: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily rate for attendance at the Summer School (including lunch) is €70.
Inclusive cost: €260 if paid in full before 1 August 2014, and €275 after that date. The inclusive fee covers all lectures and events, coffee and lunch (Monday to Thursday) and the Summer School Gala Dinner, but excludes accommodation.
A limited number of scholarships may be awarded to students, covering the cost of fees, accommodation in the Woodenbridge Hotel (in a shared twin room) and transportation to and from Avondale on a daily basis. Applicants should write to the Summer School Director outlining briefly why they would like to attend and enclosing a reference from their tutor or supervisor or departmental head. Contact email@example.com
There may be minor amendments to this programme. Please visit www.parnellsociety.com for the latest information