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 Professor 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.