European and Comparative Legal History

European and Comparative Legal History

Department I

Department I explores the European and comparative dimensions of legal history. With regard to the former, it currently has a particular interest in the Legal History of the European Union. With regard to the latter, its present focus is on Legal Transfer in the Common Law World, ie the interaction of English law with the laws and customs of the various parts of the British Empire from the 18th to the mid-20th century.

European and comparative legal history cannot be neatly separated, as is obvious from a third Research Field of the Department which explores Private Law and Dispute Resolution in a Historical, Comparative and Transnational Perspective. This builds on the Institute’s previous work and adds to the doctrinal history of European private law, particularly during the ius commune and thereafter. In a similar vein, the Department retains a strong interest in the history of Sources of Law and Legal Methods across different legal systems and traditions.

Another distinction that is difficult to maintain is that between legal history and contemporary law. Research projects in Department I therefore approach historical phenomena with a keen interest in their contemporary relevance.

Research Fields

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