Section: Events


Henry Goudy Seminar

The next meeting will be on 25 May 2017. We will convene at 6.15pm in room 9.15, David Hume Tower.

This year is (probably) the 2000th anniversary of Ovid's death (17/18 CE - if we got it wrong this year, we can try again next year). To celebrate his work, the chosen text for the next Henry Goudy Seminar will be Books 4 and 10 of the Metamorphoses (the contents of these books can be seen here).

The preferred translation is the most recent produced by Oxford World's Classics (stocked by Blackwells), but please fell free to consult any that are available (Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid is excellent).


Alan Watson Seminar in Legal History

 26 May 2017, 5:30-7 pm, Neil MacCormick Room, David Hume Tower, Free and open to all 

Wouter Druwé (FWO/KU Leuven) - 'Unilateral termination of annuity contracts in learned legal practice in the Low Countries (ca. 1500 – 1650)' 

 In the early modern period, the Low Countries performed a key role in trade and commerce on the European continent. In their golden ages, Antwerp in the sixteenth and Amsterdam in the seventeenth century attracted merchants from all over Europe and even beyond. The massive development of commerce and finance within this transregional reality raised new normative questions on how to deal with novel financial techniques. Most often, the answers were multifold. Different layers of normativity were at stake: apart from learned legal treatises and commentaries, also moral theological literature, princely or local ordinances, and customary law had to be taken into account. The Netherlandish published volumes of consilia and decisiones – together coined as ‘learned legal practice’ – form two types of legal sources which offer an excellent insight into the combined application of these different normative layers. In consilia, learned lawyers gave their opinion on specific disputes, either before or in the course of legal proceedings. Volumes of decisiones contain reports of decisions by the superior courts of the Low Countries. 

After an introduction into the sources and a short overview of the overall Ph.D. project, this paper will deal with the Netherlandish learned legal practice regarding the sale of annuities (emptio-venditio redituum), a common technique to circumvent the prohibition against usury. Someone in need of credit sold an annuity to a buyer-financier who in return paid a purchase price. As of the mid-sixteenth century learned authors accepted that the seller could unilaterally redeem the annuity, even though discussion remained as to the possibility of contractual clauses which temporarily limited that right. As this possibility was only guaranteed in case of pecuniarily constituted annuities, debates also concerned the burden of proof of an annuity’s emptitious nature. Furthermore, this contribution deals with the possibility by a public debtor to mitigate its own annual liabilities through the enactment of legislation. Finally, it is shown that the buyer-creditor was generally denied a right to claim restitution of the capital.

Ancient Law in Context

'Law and the State', 2-3 June 2017


Honorary Doctorate – Professor Wolfgang Ernst

 The Senatus Academicus of the University of Edinburgh has voted to bestow upon Professor Wolfgang Ernst, Regius Professor of Civil Law, the University of Oxford, the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). The degree will be conferred at our graduation ceremony on Thursday 6 July 2017 at 10.30 am.

 Please join the Centre for Legal History in congratulating Professor Ernst on this great honour.

 Find out more here.


Book Launch: Charles Areskine's Library

The Centre will host a book launch for Dr Karen Baston's The Library of Charles Areskine: Scottish Lawyers and Books Collecting (Brill 2016) on 29 September 2017. More details to follow.

Date / Time Details Where

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