AHA Conference 2019: ‘Local Communities, Global Networks’

The Australia Historical Association annual conference 2019 takes place from 8-12 July at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.

The conference asks, How have the local and the global intersected, inspired and transformed experiences within and from Australia’s history? How do the histories of Indigenous, imperial, migrant and the myriad of other communities and networks inform, contest and shape knowledge about Australia today?

Full details are available here.


BLHC 2019: St Andrews

The British Legal History Conference will be held in St Andrews, Scotland, from 10-13 July 2019. The conference theme is Comparative Legal History.The theme builds upon F.W. Maitland’s famous observation that ‘history involves comparison’, and that those who ignore every system but their own ‘hardly came in sight of the idea of legal history’.[1] The aim is to examine differences and similarities across a broad time-period to produce better approaches to the subject of legal history, combining depth of analysis with historical contextualization. Rather than comparing individual rules or searching for universal systems, the theme will take an intermediate approach the topic of comparative law, investigating patterns in legal norms, processes, and practice.

As always, there will be a strong Irish presence among both the papers and the delegates.

Registration is open until 31 May 2019. Full details about the programme and how to register are available here

William Molyneux’s The Case of Ireland’s Being Bound by Acts of Parliament in England, Stated

William Molyneux’s The Case of Ireland’s Being Bound by Acts of Parliament in England, Stated

Regarded as the most celebrated Irish political pamphlet published before 1801, William Molyneux’s Case of Ireland, stated (1698) was written to demonstrate that English statutes did not becomeof force in Ireland until they had been re-enacted by the Irish parliament. For all its fame, The Case’s mass of legal precedents and seemingly contradictory arguments make it a work that requires elucidation for the modern reader. This new edition presents a critical text, based on the manuscripts of The Case in the Trinity College Dublin library, together with explanatory notes, and a re-examination of the historical background and the sources on which Molyneux drew. The arguments in The Case, set out in a form analogous to presenting a legal case in court, are shown to be a significant response to the contemporary pamphlet debate on Irish woollen exports and the legal competence of the Irish house of lords, rather than the stand-alone publication the book has often been treated as.

ISBN: 978-1-84682-741-9
August 2018. 336pp; ills.

Available free of charge to all members of the Society, or for purchase from Four Courts Press

Patrick Hyde Kelly is a fellow emeritus of Trinity College Dublin. A specialist in the history of political and economic thought in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Ireland and Britain, he has edited Locke on money (2 vols, Oxford, 1991) for The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.

Juries in Ireland: Laypersons and law in the long nineteenth century

Juries in Ireland: Laypersons and law in the long nineteenth century
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a wide range of legal issues were decided, not by professional judges, but by panels of laypersons. This book considers various categories of jury, including the trial jury, the coroner’s jury, the grand jury, the special jury and the manor court jury. It also examines some lesser-known types of jury such as the market jury, the wide-streets jury, the lunacy jury, the jury of matrons and the valuation jury. Who were the men (or women) qualified to serve on these juries, and how could they be compelled to act? What were their experiences of the justice system, and how did they reach their decisions? The book also analyses some of the controversies associated with the Irish jury system during the period, and examines problems facing the jury system, including the intimidation of jurors; bribery and corruption; jurors delivering verdicts against the weight of evidence and jurors refusing to carry out their duties. It evaluates public and legal perceptions of juries and contrasts the role of the nineteenth-century jury with that of the twenty-first-century.
ISBN: 978-1-84682-621-4
October 2017. 320pp; ills.

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.

The life and times of Arthur Browne in Ireland and America, 1756–1805

The life and times of Arthur Browne in Ireland and America, 1756–1805

ISBN: 978-1-84682-622-1

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.

Guardian of the Treaty

Guardian of the Treaty

Guardian of the Treaty: The Privy Council Appeal and Irish Sovereignty (Four Courts Press 2016) ISBN: 978-1-84682-587-3

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final appellate court of the British Empire. In 1935 the Irish Free State was recognized as the first part of the Empire to abolish the appeal to the Privy Council. This book examines the controversial Irish appeal to the Privy Council in the wider context of the history of the British Empire in the early 20th century. In particular, it analyses Irish resistance to the imposition of the appeal in 1922 and the attempts to abolish it at the Imperial conferences of the 1920s and 1930s.

This book also outlines the means by which Irish governments attempted to block Privy Council appeals.  It examines the reality of claims that the Privy Council appeal offered a means of safeguarding the rights of the Protestant minority within the Irish Free State. Finally, it reveals British intentions that the Privy Council act as the guardian and enforcer of the settlement embodied in the 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty. The conclusion to this work explains why the Privy Council was unsuccessful in protecting this settlement.

Thomas Mohr is a lecturer at the School of Law, University College Dublin. He is honorary secretary of the Irish Legal History Society.

King’s Inns and the Battle of the Books, 1972: Cultural Controversy at a Dublin Library

King’s Inns and the Battle of the Books, 1972: Cultural Controversy at a Dublin Library

By Colum Kenny
Published by  Four Courts Press (Dublin, 2002)

ISBN-10: 1851826866 ISBN-13: 978-1851826865

Kenny recounts a major cultural controversy that marked the recognition of the King’s Inns Library as an important part of the heritage of modern Ireland. In 1972 thousands of non-law books from King’s Inns were sold at Sotheby’s in London. The row that ensued involved many well-known people including Cearbhall O Dalaigh, Mary Robinson and Charles J. Haughey. The sale was criticized as the random dispersal of an irreplaceable collection and it raises vital questions about the proper care of libraries, about the relationship of general knowledge to professional expertise and about the problematic nature of Irish identity in a post-colonial era. The books were sold because King’s Inns was in financial difficulty, a difficulty exacerbated by the fact that the benchers had recently renovated their kitchens. The government was kept informed by the benchers of their plans but failed to respond to a proposal that might have resulted in all of the volumes remaining in Ireland. Kenny suggests means of avoiding acrimony or major controversy in connection with any possible disposal of books by King’s Inns Library in the future.

Law and the emergence of modern Dublin: a litigation topography for a capital city

Law and the emergence of modern Dublin: a litigation topography for a capital city

by WN Osborough

published by the Irish Academic Press in association with the Irish Legal History Society 1996.

ISBN: 0716525836

This book aims to reconstruct part of Dublin’s past from source material of an unconventional and unfamiliar sort: accounts Of lawsuits generated by the evolving fortunes of the city and surrounding district. To enable the significance of these lawsuits to be better understood and to lend coherence to the narrative as a whole, additional explanatory material has been incorporated, drawn principally from general and specialist local histories. But the choice of focus has been dictated by the presence of an inventory of lawsuits with a topographical bias. In his preface, Professor Osborough remarks that he is unaware of the existence of any equivalent published exercise carried out for any other large city. The contents include: introducing litigation topography; defining Dublin; the physical setting; the river, port and bay; re-naming Sackville street; landmark buildings; public utilities; recreation for Dubliners; burying Dubliners; assessment. Complete with a detailed index and tables of cases and statutes, this volume is enhanced by over 100 illustrations in black and white.

Tristram Kennedy and the revival of Irish legal training, 1835-1885

Tristram Kennedy and the revival of Irish legal training, 1835-1885

by Colum Kenny

published by  Irish Academic Press in association with the Irish Legal History Society, 1996.

ISBN: 0716525917

Recalling the existence of an ancient and elaborate system of breton legal education, Kenny notes that little or no training was provided for lawyers within Ireland between the Tudor destruction of Gaelic society and the Victorian era. He describes the political and professional processes which led finally to the revival of legal training in the nineteenth century and the part played in that revival by Tristram Kennedy. Kennedy, a Protestant from Londonderry, established the Carrickmacross lace industry and represented in parliament the Catholic electorate of Louth. An account of his life is included. Particular attention is paid to the Dublin Law Institute which Kennedy founded and which he ran with the active support of the great educational reformer, Thomas Wyse MP. Special chapters are also devoted to the absence of a developed, chamber system in Ireland and to the experiences of those who finally succeeded in having repealed the long-standing requirement that they eat as Daniel O’Connell is said to have put it, ‘so many legs of mutton’ at the English inns.