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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Law Books in Action: Essays on the Anglo-American Treatise now available

I was excited to hear yesterday from Angela Fernandez that the wonderful volume of collected essays on the history of legal treatises in the Atlantic world she has co-edited  with Markus Dubber, her colleague at the Faculty of Law, U of T, is now available from Hart Publishing.  I've been looking forward to it--this is an important subject, which has been neglected by legal historians far too long.

The Introduction is available free (for now) online at the Hart webpage, and also posted on SSRN.

Here's the publishers' blurb:

'Law Books in Action: Essays on the Anglo-American Legal Treatise' explores the history of the legal treatise in the common law world. Rather than looking at treatises as shortcuts from 'law in books' to 'law in action', the essays in this collection ask what treatises can tell us about what troubled legal professionals at a given time, what motivated them to write what they did, and what they hoped to achieve. This book, then, is the first study of the legal treatise as a 'law book in action', an active text produced by individuals with ideas about what they wanted the law to be, not a mere stepping-stone to codes and other forms of legal writing, but a multifaceted genre of legal literature in its own right, practical and fanciful, dogmatic and ornamental in turn. This book will be of interest to legal scholars, lawyers and judges, as well as to anyone else with a scholarly interest in law in general, and legal history in particular.

As you can see from the table of contents, Canadian treatises are included and Canadian historians are well represented: in fact, the majority of the contributors are Canadian.

Introduction: Putting the Legal Treatise in Its Place
 Angela Fernandez and Markus D Dubber

1. Historicising Blackstone’s Commentaries on The Laws of England: Difference and Sameness in Historical Time Kunal M Parker

2. ‘Of Institutes and Treatises’: Blackstone’s Commentaries, Kent's Commentaries, and Beamish Murdoch's Epitome of the Law of Nova Scotia Philip Girard

3. Tapping Reeve, Coverture and America’s First Legal Treatise
Angela Fernandez

4. Story’d Paradigms for the Nineteenth-Century Display of Anglo-American Legal Doctrine
G Blaine Baker

5. A Province of Jurisprudence?: Invention of a Law of Constitutional Conventions
Roman J Hoyos

6. Nineteenth-Century Treatises on English Contract Law
Stephen Waddams

7. Of Treatises and Textbooks: The Literature of the Criminal Law in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Lindsay Farmer

8. Truth and Privilege: Libel Treatises and the Transmission of Legal Norms in the Early Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American World
Lyndsay Campbell

9. Renovate or Rebuild? Treatises, Digests and Criminal Law Codification
Barry Wright

10. A Low Law Counter Treatise? ‘Absentees’ to ‘Wreck’ in British North America’s First Justice of the Peace Manual
Jim Phillips

11. Commentary: Effects of Scale: Toward a History of the Literature of Law
Christopher Tomlins

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