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.
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.
We are pleased to announce that our 2017 Autumn Discourse will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on 1 December. Professor Jane Ohlmeyer will address the Society on the topic of "Lords, the Law and Litigation in Early-Modern Ireland".
Profesor Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin. She 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Asya Ostroukh (email@example.com). a full call for papers will follow.
See conference poster here.
Paper proposals are invited for the Third Annual Illinois-Bologna conference on Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives, which will be held in Bologna, Italy, 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.
Scholars interested in presenting a paper at the conference should e-mail a title and summary of the proposed paper along with a CV to Professor Jason Mazzone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.
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.
Networks and Connections
Wednesday 5 July 2017 – Saturday 8 July 2017
About the Conference
The Conference will be held from the 5th to the 8th of July 2017. Registration will be on the 5th of July. Delegates will be able to find accommodation in the wide range of nearby hotels.
Dr Ian Williams, Faculty of Laws, UCL
Professor Michael Lobban, LSE Law
For full conference programme and details about booking, travel and accommodation, see the conference website.
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.
‘We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right’
- Clause 40 of Magna Carta
In November 1216, The Great Charter of Ireland (Magna Carta Hibernae) was issued and arrived in Ireland in February 1217. 800 years later it is still noted as an international symbol of freedom and rights paving the way for the democratic systems which exist in in the world today.
Commissioned by Salisbury Cathedral in 2015, British and American composer, Tarik O’Regan has collaborated with poet and librettist Alice Goodman to create a commemorative piece for Magna Carta – ‘A Letter of Rights‘ for chamber choir and orchestra.
Marking the 800th anniversary of the arrival of Magna Carta in Ireland, Chamber Choir Ireland and the Irish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Paul Hillier will perform this large-scale work in Belfast, Limerick and finally in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, where a 14th century copy of Magna Carta is currently exhibited. Partnering A Letter of Rights in the programme is Handel’s brilliantly virtuosic Dixit Dominus.
Chamber Choir Ireland and Irish Chamber Orchestra are recognised as leaders in their artforms both on the island of Ireland and internationally and are delighted to once again partner for this unique programme of the new and the old. The tour has been made possible through a Touring and Dissemination of Work award from the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Thursday 23rd February, St. Thomas’ Parish Church, Belfast 7.30pm, £15/5 Tickets viawww.belfastmusicsociety.org
Saturday 25th February, St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick 8.00pm, €25/22 Tickets viawww.irishchamberorchestra.com/events/a-letter-of-rights
Sunday 26th February, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin 7.30pm, €25/22 Tickets viawww.irishchamberorchestra.com/events/a-letter-of-rights
The Irish Legal History Society marked the 800th anniversary of the transmission of Magna Carta to Ireland with a two-day conference in Christ Church Cathedral in November 2016. The conference explored the legal-historical background to Magna Carta in Ireland, the reception of the charter into English law in Ireland, the political and polemical uses to which the charter was put, and its twentieth and twentieth-first century invocations as a living presence in contemporary Irish law. Professor Paul Brand (All Souls, Oxford) delivered a keynote address on the impact of Magna Carta on the development of English law in medieval Ireland.
Speakers included: Claire Breay, Sean Duffy, Ian Campbell, Coleman Dennehy, Sparky Booker, Colum Kenny, Adrian Empey, James Kelly, Patrick Geoghegan, John Larkin, Bláthna Ruane.
The conference was recorded for podcasting by Real Smart Media, and is available here:
The School of Law at University College Cork, in association with the Irish Legal History Society, hosted a Legal History Evening on Thursday 10 November. This evening was part of a project undertaken by Professor Irene Lynch Fannon funded by the Irish Research Council as part of the Decade of Centenaries scheme covering the period 1916-1926.