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The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History by H Pihlajamäki, MD Dubber and M Godfrey (eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 1216 pp (£125 hardback). ISBN: 978-0-19-878522-1.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2019

Lorenzo Maniscalco*
Clare College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Author email:


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Book Review
Copyright © The Society of Legal Scholars 2019

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1 Osler, DJThe myth of European legal history’ (1997) 16 Rechtshistorisches Journal 393Google Scholar.

2 Ibid, at 393.

3 Ibid, at 395, 399–404.

4 H Pihlajamäki et al ‘Preface’ in The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History p vi.

5 See Dubber, MD and Tomlins, C (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Legal History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 R Lesaffer ‘The birth of European legal history’ in The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History pp 84–99.

7 JQ Whitman ‘The world historical significance of European legal history: an interim report’ in ibid, pp 5–6.

8 Ibid, p 6.

9 T Duve ‘Global legal history: setting Europe in perspective’, in ibid, pp 137–138.

11 Perhaps the chapter through the book that comes closest to engaging with global history is Pier Giuseppe Monateri's contextualisation of early Roman law. See n 15 below.

12 P Clarke ‘Western canon law in the central and later Middle Ages’ in ibid, p 265; J Hallebeek ‘Structure of medieval Roman law: institutions, sources and methods’ in ibid, p 286.

13 J-L Halpérin ‘The age of codification and legal modernisation in private law’ in ibid, p 907; D Gosewinkel ‘The constitutional state’ in ibid, p 945.

14 M Korpiola ‘High- and late-medieval Scandinavia: codified vernacular law and learned legal influences’ in ibid, p 378; M Korpiola ‘Customary law and the influence of the ius commune in high- and late-medieval east central Europe’ in ibid, p 404.

15 PG Monateri ‘Early Roman law and the west: a reversal of grounds’ in ibid, p 162.

16 AM Hespanha ‘Southern Europe (Italy, Iberian Peninsula, France)’ in ibid, pp 332–333.

17 D Heirbaut ‘Feudal law’ in ibid, p 528.

18 H-P Haferkampf ‘Legal formalism and its critics’ in ibid, p 928; B Aguilera-Barchet ‘The law of the welfare state’ p 1000.

19 Part III, for example, begins with methodologically traditional pieces on canon and civil law before moving, rather abruptly, onto Hespanha's self-consciously unorthodox chapter on Southern Europe (see n 16 above). It then goes back to orthodoxy with relatively straightforward chapters on the national law of various regions, before abandoning national boundaries altogether with one piece on conflict management between traders and another on feudal law (see n 17 above).

20 B Stolte ‘Byzantine law: the law of the new Rome’ in ibid, p 231, fn 2.

21 P Du Plesissis ‘Classical and post-classical Roman law: the legal actors and the sources’ in ibid, p 186. The abstract specifically states that ‘the chapter ends with the “fall” of the Western Empire in the fifth century AD and leaves the discussion of Justinianic Roman law to another chapter elsewhere in this volume’.

22 See Hallebeek, above n 12, pp 290–293.

23 J Schröder ‘Legal scholarship: the theory of sources and methods of law’ in ibid, p 551; DJ Ibbetson ‘Natural law in early modern legal thought’ in ibid, p 566.

24 W Decock ‘Law of property and obligations: neoscholastic thinking and beyond’ in ibid, p 611; M Meccarelli ‘Criminal law: before a state monopoly’ in ibid, p 632; A Wijffels ‘Civil procedural law, the judiciary, and legal professionals’ in ibid, p 655; B Sordi ‘Public law before “public law”’ in ibid, p 705.

25 H Pihlajamäki ‘Scandinavian law in the early modern period’ in ibid, p 806. Compare with Korpiola, above n 14.

26 M Murayeva ‘Russian law in the early modern period’ in ibid, p 854; Y Gorlizki ‘Communism and the law’ in ibid, p 1095.