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 the island of Ireland, 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 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Irish Legal History Society will be held on Friday 1st December 2017 at 5pm in the Old Bar Library, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast
4.30 pm Tea and coffee will be served to welcome those attending the AGM
5.00 pm Annual General Meeting
6.00 pm The Winter Discourse will be delivered by:
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer
PH.D, F.R.HIST.S., M.R.I.A., F.T.C.D., Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin:
Lords, the Law and Litigation in Early Modern Ireland
7.00 pm Drinks reception for those attending the dinner
7.30 pm There will be a dinner in the Old Bar Library following the drinks reception. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The cost of the dinner is expected to be in the region of £40.
Members wishing to come to the dinner should confirm by e-mail to David Capper: firstname.lastname@example.org before the close of business on Friday 24th November 2017
Professor Ohlmeyer is an expert on the New British and Atlantic Histories and has published extensively on early modern Irish and British history. She has recently completed Making Ireland English: the formation of an aristocracy in the seventeenth century for Yale University Press and volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Ireland is currently in the press. She is currently working on an edition of Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, A shorte view of the State and condicon of the kingdome of Ireland/The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in Ireland (Dublin, 1719/20 and London, 1720 and 1721) and a study of 'Colonial Ireland, Colonial India'. Professor Ohlmeyer is also an active proponent of 'Digital Humanities'
Over the years Professor Ohlmeyer has attracted significant amounts of highly competitive funding for her own research projects and for her graduate students. She has considerable expertise in overseeing major editorial projects and helped to secure over €1M in funding from the IRCHSS, the AHRC (the UK funding council) and Trinity College for the digitization and online publication of the '1641 Depositions'. She is a founding member of the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity's humanities research institute and serves its Internal and External Advisory Boards and in a related initiative - 'Creativity, the City and the University' - which is linked to the Dublin Creative Alliance. She was closely involved in setting up the 'Humanities Serving Irish Society' consortium which under PRTLI 4 secured funding for the Digital Humanities Observatory. She is also the Principal Investigator for the Trinity College Dublin element of 'Humanities Serving Irish Society' which was awarded €10.78M as part of PRTLI 4.
- Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the seventeenth century, London and New Haven, Yale University Press, 2012, 1 - 680pp
- Civil War and Restoration in the Three Stuart Kingdoms: the Political Career of Randal MacDonnell First Marquis of Antrim (1609-83) (Cambridge University Press, 1993; paperback reprint in Four Courts Press's 'Classics in Irish History' Series, Dublin, 2001), xxiii + 357 pages.
- The Irish Statute Staple Books, 1596-1687 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1998), with Éamonn Ó Ciardha, xvii + 380 pages.
- The 1641 Depositions - The online version is now available. Between 2011 and 2015 the Irish Manuscripts Commission will publish the 1641 Depositions in 12 volumes. Aidan Clarke is the principal editor and I am one of the co-editors, along with Tom Bartlett, John Morrill and Micheál Ó Siochrú.
- British Interventions in Early Modern Ireland editor with Ciaran Brady (Cambridge University Press, 2004; paperback 2010), xx + 371 pages.
- Kingdom or Colony?: Political Thought in seventeenth-century Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2000; paper back 2010), xvii + 290 pages.
- The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1638-1660 (Oxford University Press, 1998; reprinted as part of the Oxford Illustrated History series, 2002), with John Kenyon, xl + 300 pages, 51 illustrations and 10 maps.
- Ireland from Independence to Occupation, 1641-1660 (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback, 2002), li + 309 pages.
- 'Making Ireland English: the seventeenth-century Irish peerage' in Brian MacCuarta (ed.), Reshaping Ireland 1590-1700: Colonization and its consequences: Essays presented to Nicholas Canny (Dublin, 2011).
- 'Society: the changing role of print - Ireland (to 1660)' in Joad Raymond (ed.), The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, volume I (Oxford, 2011).
- 'The baronial context of the Civil War in Ireland' in John Adamson (ed.), The Civil Wars (London, 2008), pp. 106-24.
- 'Patronage and Restoration Politics: John Dryden and the House of Ormond' (with Steven Zwicker) in Historical Journal (2006), pp. 677-706.
- 'A Laboratory for Empire?: Early Modern Ireland and English Imperialism' in Kevin Kenny (ed.), Ireland and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 26-60.
- 'Literature, Identity, and the New British Histories' in David Barker and Willy Maley, eds., British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 245-55.
- 'Seventeenth-century Ireland and the New British and Atlantic Histories' in American Historical Review 104:2 (April, 1999), pp. 446-462
- '"Civilizinge of those rude partes". The colonization of Ireland and Scotland, 1580s-1640s' in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 1, ed. N. Canny (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), pp. 124-47.
- 'The Wars of Religion, 1603-60' in A Military History of Ireland, ed. Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 160-187.
- 'The "Antrim Plot" of 1641 - a myth?', The Historical Journal, 35 (1992), pp. 905-19.
Recently published by Palgrave as part of their Modern Legal History series.
This multi-disciplinary study considers the intersection between law and family life in Ireland from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Setting the law in its wider social historical context it traces marriage from its formation through to its breakdown. It considers the impact of the law on such issues as adultery, divorce, broken engagements, marriage settlements, pregnancy, adoption, property, domestic violence, concealment of birth and inter-family homicide, as well as the historical origins of the Constitutional protection of the family. An underlying theme is the way in which the law of the family in Ireland differed from the law of the family in England.
With contributions by Maebh Harding, Karen Brennan, Mary O'Dowd, Diane Urquhart, Thomas Mohr, Deirdre McGowan, Michael Sinnott, Lindsey Earner-Byrne, Elaine Farrell, Simone McCoughran and Fred Powell.
Thirty-fourth Hugh M Fitzpatrick Lecture in Legal Bibliography
In association with Humanities Institute, UCD
Dr Hiram Morgan, School of History, University College Cork:
‘Certain Considerations’: Sir Francis Bacon and policy-making in Ireland under Elizabeth and James
Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, 6 pm on Wednesday 25 Oct 2017
Welcome: Professor Anne Fuchs, FBA, MRIA, Director, Humanities Institute
Respondent: Dr Eamonn O’ Flaherty, Associate Professor, UCD School of History
De Búrca Rare Books
Dr Mona B McGarry
Hiram Morgan's paper examines the impact that Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626), the English scientist, jurist and politician, had on Irish policy during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Bacon, who eventually became Lord Chancellor of England before retiring to write his scientific works, never came to Ireland but his interventions here are of some importance. Morgan’s contribution to the Hugh M Fitzpatrick Lectures in Legal Bibliography series takes its rise from a range of documents in manuscript and in Bacon's collected works, beginning with his famous 'Certain considerations touching the Plantation in Ireland' written to advise King James in 1609 about colonizing Ulster. It seeks to show how Bacon sought to influence key ministers such as Essex, Cecil and Buckingham and how in turn from his position in the English legal establishment he sought to influence laws and judicial appointments in Ireland.
Hiram Morgan is Senior Lecturer at the School of History, University College Cork, and is currently head of CELT, the world’s largest website for Irish Studies which is hosted there. He obtained his BA and PhD at Cambridge. He has authoredTyrone’s Rebellion (1993) and edited Political Ideology in Ireland, 1541-1641 (1999), Information, Media and Power through the Ages (2001) and The Battle of Kinsale (2004). He co-authored with John Barry Great Deeds in Ireland (2013) and worked with Dorothy Convery on Ireland 1518 (2015). He has held various research fellowships and has been a principal investigator on several local, national and international projects. He has contributed many peer-reviewed articles and was co-founder of History Ireland, Ireland’s popular history magazine.
Niamh Howlin is a lecturer in the Sutherland School of Law at University College Dublin. She has published extensively on the nineteenth-century Irish jury system, as well as on other aspects of criminal justice history and contemporary issues surrounding jury trial.
We are delighted that one of our former presidents, Professor Norma Dawson, was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to legal education and the development of the legal profession in Northern Ireland.
Professor Dawson is a distinguished legal historian and holder of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship. She was President of the Irish Legal History Society from 2009-2012. She is also a former Head of the Law School at Queen's University Belfast. Last year she was made an Honorary Bencher of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland.
Her research interests are intellectual property law, especially the law of trade marks, cultural property law, and legal history. She has taught in areas including Equity and Trusts, Trade Mark Law, Land Law, Charity Law, Landlord and Tenant Law, Irish Legal History, Planning Law and Introduction to Property Law. She has published widely in these areas, and her list of publications can be viewed here.
Papers are invited for an upcoming conference The Use of Law by Social Movements and Civil Society, which will be held March 22-23, 2018.
The issue of how social movements and civil society orgnanizations make use of law has long been neglected by the sociology of social movements. This is probably partly due to the fact that law as such has been largely disregarded by sociologists in general throughout the 20th century, despite the fact that it did represent a privileged object of study for some of the founders of the discipline, such as Durkheim and Weber. But under the influence of Marx and Bourdieu, many sociologists have considered law as a mere mystification serving to mask inequalities and power relations as well as to reproduce economic and social domination.
This call is addressed to sociologists, lawyers, philosophers, anthropologists, political scientists, criminologists, historians, etc. who are interested in social movements and civil society in general and in the study of the use of law by activist groups in particular.
See the call for proposals for further details.
Proposals (max. 500 words) should be sent in English or French by 1 October 2017 to arc-strategiclitigation[@]ulb.ac.be.
Please include name, institutional affiliation and a brief CV.
The conference will lead to the publication of a special issue in a leading journal. Some articles could also be published on opendemocracy.net/ openmovements. Acceptance of papers for presentation at the conference does not automatically imply their selection for publication. Papers selected for publication will be subject to a separate process of peer review.
“Legal History and Empires: Perspectives from the Colonized”.
This conference will take place on July 11-13, 2018 at the Cave Hill, Barbados Campus, University of the West Indies.
Jointly sponsored by the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Humanities at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados and an international group of legal historians and historians of the law.
This is a conference for anyone with an active interest in research in the areas of the legal history of empires and colonies
.For preliminary inquires or to register your interest, please contact Shaunnagh Dorsett (email@example.com) or Asya Ostroukh (firstname.lastname@example.org). a full call for papers will follow.
See conference poster here.
The Third Annual Illinois-Bologna conference on Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives will be held in Bologna, Italy, from 13-14 November 2017.
The event is sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Bologna School of Law, and the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development. Proposals submitted by 1 July will receive priority.
The conference keynote speaker will be Giuliano Amato, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy, former Prime Minister of Italy, and Professor Emeritus of the European University Institute and the University La Sapienza.
The 2017 annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from 26-29 October.
The Plenary Lecture will be delivered by Tomiko Brown-Nagin of Harvard Law School and the preliminary program will be available on the Society's website from 1 September. The conference hotel is the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa. The University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law is the principal sponsor of the meeting, and part of the meeting will be held at the School. For further details see the ASLH website.
The 2018 ASLH Annual Meeting will take place in Houston, Texas from 8-11 November 2018.
The 2019 ASLH Annual Meeting will take place in Boston, Massachusetts from 21-24 November 2019.
Coming July 2017. 304pp; colour ills.
Born in Rhode Island, Arthur Browne was a lawyer, a scholar, and a politician in the Ireland of the late eighteenth century and established a brilliant reputation in all three areas at a time of enormous conflict and upheaval. The pre-eminent maritime lawyer of his era, Browne was also an MP in the Irish parliament, and the Regius Professor of Civil and Canon Law at Trinity College Dublin, where he has been described as ‘one of the most able and learned academic lawyers ever to teach there’. A brilliant and forceful debater, Browne opposed violent revolution, supported the Catholic cause, and became one of the most powerful liberal voices in the Irish parliament in the 1790s. His international reputation as a legal scholar was established by his two-volume study on the civil law and the law of the admiralty published in 1797 and 1799, a work that had a major influence around the world and especially on American maritime law. This new book explores how the American-born Browne became a leading figure in Irish law, academia and politics, and it provides a new perspective on his role in parliament during the controversial passing of the Act of Union in 1800.
Joseph C. Sweeney is the John D. Calamari Distinguished Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.
To mark the 80th anniversary of Bunreacht na hEireann, an international interdisciplinary conference will take place in Waterford on 30 June and 1 July.
The event will not only mark the eighty years of the Constitution, but will also evaluate its ability to serve all the people of Ireland. The conference programme and booking information is available here. Concessions are available for students.
Our 2017 Spring Discourse took place on Friday 17 February at 5.30, at Regent House, Trinity College Dublin. John F. Larkin, QC, Attorney General for Northern Ireland delivered an insightful address on: ‘The Irish Convention, 1917-18: Centenary Reflections’
About the Speaker
- John F Larkin QC was educated at St Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School and at Queen's University Belfast.
- He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in Michaelmas Term 1986 and later to the Bar of Ireland.
- Between 1989 and 1991 he was Reid Professor of Criminal Law in Trinity College Dublin.
- He took silk in Michaelmas term 2001. In the last ten years his practice has been mainly in Constitutional and Administrative Law and Human Rights.
Following the transfer of policing and criminal justice powers to Northern Ireland he was appointed Attorney General for Northern Ireland on 24 May 2010. He is the first person to hold the office separately since its functions were assumed by the Attorney General for England and Wales in 1972.