Legal History Symposium with Lisa Ford and Jessica Hinchy

Join us for the second of several symposia planned for 2020 and 2021 for Legal Histories of Empire.

Our speakers:

Lisa Ford: ‘The King’s Colonial Peace: Variable subjecthood and the transformation of empire’

This paper is drawn from my forthcoming book, The King’s Peace: Empire and Order in the British Empire. The book uses colonial peacekeeping as a lens through which to examine the shifting parameters of crown prerogative in Empire in the Age of Revolutions. This paper will argue that the legal vulnerability of (and often threats to order posed by) a diverse array of subjects – formerly French Catholics in Quebec, Caribbean slaves and NSW convicts – both prompted and justified the unravelling of the very idea of the freeborn Englishman that had been mobilised by protestant Britons in pre-revolutionary America.

Lisa Ford is Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her major publications include Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836 (2010) which won the Littleton-Griswold Prize (American Historical Association); the Thomas J. Wilson Prize (Harvard University Press); and the Premiers History Award (NSW). She is also co-author of Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850 (co-authored with Lauren Benton, 2016) and author of The King’s Peace, which will be published by Harvard later this year. Ford is currently leading a collaborative project funded by the Australian Research Council exploring the role of commissions of inquiry sent throughout the British Empire in the 1820s on which subject she hopes to lead author a book manuscript this year. She also holds a four-year ARC Future Fellowship, during which she will explore the changing use of martial law in the British Empire from the late eighteenth century until 1865.

Jessica Hinchy: ‘Child Removal and the Colonial Governance of the Family: Hijra and “Criminal Tribe” Households in North India, c. 1865-1900’

Historians have primarily examined colonial child removal projects in settler colonial contexts. Yet from 1865, the colonial government in north India forcibly removed children from criminalised communities. Child separation began in the households of gender non-conforming people labelled ‘eunuchs,’ particularly Hijras, and eventually extended to socially marginalised people designated as ‘criminal tribes,’ especially Sansiyas. First, what does a comparison of these child removal schemes tell us about the colonial governance of the family? Patrilineal, conjugal and reproductive household models marginalised Hijras and Sansiyas in differing ways, while the category of ‘child’ was contingently defined. Child separation was attempted to varying ends, including both elimination and assimilation. Yet often, the colonial state could not sustain such intensified forms of intimate governance in the face of resistance from households. Nor could officials simply determine removed children’s futures. Second, what does child removal suggest about the making of colonial law? When children were initially removed from Hijra and Sansiya households, officials admitted that ‘the law may have been somewhat strained,’ since existing laws did not provide police or magistrates with legal powers to separate these children. The Sansiya child removal project, for instance, prompted debates about colonial legal exceptions and the ‘legality’ of the colonial state’s practices among colonial officials and Indian and European non-officials.

Jessica Hinchy is an Assistant Professor of History at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She researches the history of gender, sexuality, households and family in colonial north India. In 2019, Cambridge University Press published her first monograph, Governing Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India: The Hijra, c. 1850-1900. Her research has also appeared in Modern Asian Studies, Gender & History and Asian Studies Review, among other journals.

The event will take place by zoom on Friday 5 March (or Thursday 4 March, depending on your timezone – see below). Please register here (via Eventbrite) to attend.


Sydney @ 12.30 pm on 5 March

Singapore @ 9.30 am on 5 March

Auckland @ 2.30 pm on 5 March

New Delhi @ 7.00 am on 5 March

London/Dublin @ 1.30 am on 5 March

Nairobi @ 4.30 am on 5 March

Vancouver @ 5.30 pm on 4 March

New Haven/Toronto @ 8.30 pm on 4 March

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AM for legal history professor

Professor Emeritus Wilfrid Prest AM FASSA FAHA was awarded Member (AM) in the General Division for significant service to tertiary education and to the law and legal history. Professor Prest is Emeritus Professor in History and Law at the University of Adelaide. He is a historian of early modern England and one of Australia’s leading scholars of legal history and the legal profession. He is a Fellow of Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Royal Historical Society (UK), a member of the Council of the Selden Society (UK) and was President of the History Council of South Australia.

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New book – Lord Devlin

Lord Devlin by Justice John Sackar

Lord Devlin was a leading lawyer of his generation. Moreover, he was one of the most recognised figures in the judiciary, thanks to his role in the John Bodkin Adams trial and the Nyasaland Commission of Inquiry. It is hard then to believe that he retired as a Law Lord at a mere 58 years of age. This important book looks at the life, influences and impact of this most important judicial figure. Starting with his earliest days as a schoolboy before moving on to his later years, the author draws a compelling picture of a complex, brilliant man who would shape not just the law but society more generally in post-war Britain.

Justice John Sackar is a judge at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Oct 2020   |   9781509923700   |   280pp   |   Hbk   |    RSP: £25  

Discount Price: £20

Order online at – use the code UG6 at the checkout to get 20% off your order!

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Francis Forbes Society – Ninth Annual Plunkett Lecture

A reminder that the Ninth Annual Plunkett Lecture will be delivered by Dr John McLaughlin AM on Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 5:15pm. The JH Plunkett Lecture honours the memory of one of this State’s pivotal Attorneys General. John Hubert Plunkett (1802-1869) arrived in NSW, from Ireland, in 1832. For more than 30 years thereafter he made a major contribution to colonial law and society, serving, inter alia, as Solicitor General and Attorney General. In 1835 he published The Australian Magistrate, the first Australian legal practice book. He was the first Australian lawyer to be granted a commission as Queen’s Counsel. He led Roger Therry, another Irish-born barrister, in the conduct of the Myall Creek Murder trials.

The 2020 Plunkett Lecture will focus on John Plunkett himself. The lecture will be chaired by the NSW Attorney General, The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP, himself a former Plunkett Lecturer.

The lecture will be held in the Banco Court, and streamed using the Court’s remote facilities (bearing in mind Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings). Registration is required (admission is free).

Members of the Francis Forbes Society can register here via TryBooking – Details on becoming a member of the Society are available on the Society’s web site:

We will send the link and programme for the lecture to registered attendees on Tuesday morning.

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Conference registration open

Registration for the 39th annual conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society is now open and can be completed here

If you have not already seen it, the programme for the event can be downloaded below –

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Draft version of conference programme now available

A draft version of the programme for the 39th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society is now available to view below.

All times NZDTStream 1Stream 2Stream 3Stream 4
8:00 – 10:00Panel 1 – 8am Colonialism and the Legal Profession: Canada, Pakistan, and Hong Kong Philip Girard, Sida Liu and Summaiya Zaidi   Panel 2 – 9am Scottish Criminal Law in New Zealand and Australia: Social and Cultural Perspectives Valerie Wallace, Tommy Boyd and Libby Bowyer  Making Lists and Checking Them Twice: Policing, Law, and Governance in 19th century Colonial India and the British Empire Nellum Sohail   A Failed Transplant: Jurors and the Jury Trial in India, 1861 – 1975 James Jaffe   Responding to Crises on the Edges of Empire: Comparisons, Connections, and the Workings of Imperial Governance Alex Martinborough   Does a General Theory of Colonial Law Make Sense? Airton Seelander  Scots Law of Master-Servant: What Can We Learn From Domestic Servants? Alice Krzanich   Legal Constructions of an Empire: The Emperor and the Territorial Lords of the Holy Roman Empire in 17th and 18th centuries Middle European Jurisprudence Andreas Thier   Normative Orders, Local Law and Imperial Dynamics in Portugese America 17th and 18th centuries Gustavo Cabral   Two Doctors of Civil Law and the American Colonial History Lukasz Korporowicz   British Imperialism and Cultural Heritage at the end of XIX Century Pierangelo BlandinoThe Good Migrant: naturalisation, race and gender in South Africa and Australia in the early 20th century Rachel Bright   The role of Legislation in Racial Identities within the English Atlantic 1640s – 1700s Justine Collins   How the implementation of the British legal system provided by the 1763 Royal Proclamation varied between the four new governments? Antoni Lahondes   Imperial Federation Eric Wilkinson
10:00 – 11:00Keynote: Joshua Getzler
11:00 – 11:30BREAK
11:30 – 1:30Panel 1 – 11:30am Roundtable discussion of Empire and the Making of Native Title: Sovereignty, Property and Indigenous People Bain Attwood, Miranda Johnson, Ned Fletcher and David Williams     Panel 2 – 12:30pm Roundtable on Māori oral culture and Aotearoa New Zealand legal institutions Anna Milne-Tavendale, Laura Kamau and Madi Williams  The Pepeha as Truth Telling Seonaid Abernethy and Hone Sadler   Looking Forward Looking Back: Customary International Law, Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Shea Esterling   “Where is the Aboriginal Act?” Archibald Meston and the emergence of Aboriginal policy in Queensland Paul Memmott and Jonathan Richards   The Sun Never Set on Imperialist Ideology and the Representation of ‘Others’: Troubling Trade Marks throughout the British Empire Fady Aoun“What the Boers did Australia can do, and do ten times better”: The Impact of the Boers on Australian Defence Policy Alexander Lee   “No Quarter?: The problematic enforcement of international law in the frontline, 1915 – 1918 Dale Blair   After the Holocaust: Justice and Judgments in Post-War Germany Kerstin Braun   Beyond the National Frame: Revisiting the Origins of Australian Citizenship Anne Macduff   Allegiance, Protection and the Long History of Belonging – An Historical Solution for Australian Citizens in Al-Hawl Felicity Gerry, Sue Milne, Cate Read and Eamonn Kelly“Because I Said So?: Revisiting the “Letters” in Early Modern Letters Patent Chris Dent   Analysing British Imposed Property Systems in the Indian Subcontinent: Understanding Transitions in Property Regimes Umar Rashid   Mining in the Colonies: Digging into the British Legacy Noeleen McNamara   The Courts and Ellis Bent in New South Wales 1810 – 1815 Paula Byrne   Colonisation through Proclamation: Revisiting a shared history of the British Empire through art and material culture Laura McLean and Pritam Dey  
1:30 – 2:00BREAK
2:00 – 3:00Keynote: Miranda Johnson
3:00 – 3:30BREAK   
3:30 – 5:30Panel 1 – 3:30pm Models of Legal Transfers in the British Empire David Schorr, Ron Harris and Assaf Likhovski     Panel 2 – 4:30pm Law and History in Legal Education and Pedagogy Sarah Wilson, other participants TBCMartial Law and War in the New England Cameron Moore   The Age of Emergency Christopher Roberts   Legality of 1857 Mutiny Laws of British India Aman Kumar   One Imperial Gaol, Many Colonial Prisoners: convict transportation to Australia from the colonies Patricia DownesLegal Encounter between Colony and the Metropole: Women’s Question in Nineteenth Century India Subhasri Ghosh   “A dissolute woman”: Murder, gender and co-accused status in the case of Margaret Cody Caroline Ingram   Dower’s uneven demise across the dowager’s empire: the second great dispossession in settler colonies Bettina Bradbury   The Unification of Australian Divorce Law under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 Henry KhaRobert FitzRoy and the Collapse of the New Zealand Tax System, 1843 – 1845 Michael Littlewood   “To Your Marrowbones All”: Loan Transactions and the Law in Nineteenth Century Australia Karen Fairweather and Warren Swain   The relied-upon oral agreement: rationalizing an entrenched judicial exception to the Statute of Frauds Sonali Walpola   One Empire, three colonies, common histories but distinct journeys – A comparative study of the evolution of corporate rescue of the US, Australia and India Preeti Nalavadi
5:30 – 6:00BREAK
6:00 – 7:00Keynote: Dame Sian Elias
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39th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society

Join us for an intensive 1 day world-wide gathering devoted to law in history

9 December 2020

Hosted by Event Services at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Keynote plenary sessions will feature

Joshua Getzler, Oxford University, on “ Six Nations of the Grand River, military feudalism, and the roots of ‘honour of the Crown’.”

Miranda Johnson, Otago University, on “Reckoning with a Pacific empire state: Race, nation, citizenship and the idea of New Zealand.”

A Closing Address by Dame Sian Elias, former Chief Justice of New Zealand

The organisers have accepted 39 individual papers and 7 panel presentations. They will be run in four concurrent parallel sessions throughout the day. The programme will be uploaded to the ANZLHS website page shortly:

The timings will be specified according to the NZDT time zone – which is UTC+13. We have attempted to time presentations so that are as reasonable as possible for the presenters (but will be difficult for some). The conference will begin at 9.00am and conclude at 7.00pm NZDT

To cover Event Services charges, and to ensure a high quality of digital platform delivery utilising Zoom, Vimeo and Twilio, we are asking all attendees to pay a modest registration fee. In addition, the rules of the ANZLHS require all presenters to pay the Society’s 2020 annual subscription. So ‘full member registration’ applies to presenters who have paid the 2020 Society subscription in advance; ‘full non-member registration’ applies to presenters (some of whom will have been members in the past) who have not yet paid the 2020 Society subscription. We are waiving registration fees for postgraduate student presenters. The portal for registrations will be launched shortly through the website page. The cost for registration is as follows in $NZ:

Full member registration: $130; Full non-member registration: $ 215; Full-time post graduate presenters: Fee waiver; Attendance only registration: $130

Graduate students are invited to apply for Kercher Scholarships. Five scholarship awards will be made that may adorn your cv even though there is no monetary element to the scholarship this year. Please apply to Katherine Sanders: by 20 November if you have not already applied. Graduate attendees may also wish to enter their paper for the Forbes Society Prize. The Society’s peer-reviewed journal law&history will consider submissions from those who present papers at the conference. In the meantime further information about the conference may be gleaned from David Williams:

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The Competition is open to all Students enrolled, at any time during 2020, in an Australian Secondary School or in an undergraduate or graduate Tertiary Course, including a postgraduate practical skills course leading to admission to practice as a lawyer. 

There are three categories of award: one for Tertiary Students, another for Senior School Students, and a third for Junior School Students.

Tertiary Student Category

Suggested essay length: 2000-4000 words approximately.

Essayist’s Prize: $1,000.00 and a book from Federation Press

Senior Secondary School Category (Years 11-12 in NSW, and Interstate Equivalents).  

Suggested essay length: 750-2000 words approximately.

Essayist’s Prize: $250 and a book from Federation Press – School Prize: $250

Junior Secondary School Category (NSW Years 7-10 and Interstate Equivalents).

Suggested essay length: 500-1,000 words approximately.

Essayist’s Prize: $250 and a book from Federation Press – School Prize: $250

Each Essayist will receive a Certificate of Acknowledgement acknowledging participation in the Competition. At the discretion of the Society, Merit Certificates may be issued to selected essayists.

The deadline for essay submission is 5.00 pm on Friday, 18 December 2020. Essays should be submitted by email to

Further information about the competition conditions can be found in the file below.

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Legal Histories of Empire Symposium: Rohit De and Catherine Evans

Please join us for the first of several planned symposia in 2020 and 2021 for Legal Histories of Empire and for the celebration of a special birthday of the founder of the Legal Histories of Empire Conferences.

Our speakers:

Rohit De: “Brown Lawyers, Black Robes: Decolonization, Diasporic Lawyers and Minority Rights”

Rohit De is Associate Professor of History at Yale University and is the author of A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (2018). As a Carnegie Fellow, he is currently working on a book on a history of rebellious lawyering and decolonization

Catherine Evans: “Civilization as Sanity in the Victorian Empire” 

Catherine L. Evans is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her first book, Unsound Empire: Civilization and Madness in Late-Victorian Law, comes out next fall (Yale University Press, 2021).


New Haven/Toronto @ 4 pm on 30 October

Vancouver @ 1pm on 30 October

Sydney @ 7 am on 31 October

Auckland @ 9 am on 31October

London/Dublin @ 8 pm on 30 October

Singapore @ 4 am on 31 October

Registration: Free via Eventbrite.

Registration is required.  You will be emailed a Zoom link 36 hours before the event. 

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Tel Aviv University Law and History Workshop Fall 2020

Members might be interested in this following workshop series.

Thursdays, 14:15 – 15:45

Organized by: Rachel Friedman, Ron Harris & Assaf Likhovski

Nov. 5, 2020, Jedidiah Kroncke, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, The Harvard Model as Domestic and International Export: A Translocal Movement of Elite Legal Integration

Nov. 12, 2020, Yair Lorberbaum, Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law, The Rise of Halakhic Religiosity of Mystery and Transcendence [paper and discussion in Hebrew]

Nov. 19, 2020, Aviram Shahal, Michigan Law School, From Konstitutzya to Huka: The Adoption of a Hebrew Term for a Constitution [discussion in Hebrew]

Nov. 26, 2020, Vanessa Ogle, University of California, Berkeley, Department of History, “Funk Money:” The End of Empires, the Expansion of Tax Havens, and Decolonization as an Economic and Financial Event

Dec. 3, 2020, Rowan Dorin, Stanford University, Department of History, The Bishop as Lawmaker in Late Medieval Europe

Dec. 10, 2020, Geraldine Gudefin, American University Department of History & Tel Aviv University, Berg Institute, “An Innocent Candor that Left No Doubt as to her Sincerity”: East European Jewish Women and Jewish Law in Early 20th-Century American Courts”

Dec. 17, 2020, Emily Kadens, Northwestern Law School, “The Dark Side of Commerce: Trust, Reputation, and Cheating in Early Modern England.”

Dec. 24, 2020, Idit Ben Or, Tel Aviv University Safra Center, Non-Governmental Currencies in Early Modern England: A Legal Analysis [discussion in Hebrew]

Dec. 31, 2020, Julie Cooper, Tel Aviv University, Department of Political Science, The Zionist Critique of Spinoza’s Politics [discussion in Hebrew]

Jan. 7, 2020, Adam Lebovitz, Cambridge University Faculty of History, Freedom of the Press between the American and French Revolutions

*** All sessions of the workshop will take place on Zoom.  We have a limited number of slots available in each session for visitors.  Anyone who is interested in participating in a particular session must register in advance by sending an email torachelf3 “at” “dot” il. ***

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