Tuesday 7 March 2017
| 7pm, Moot Court Room, New Academic Building, LSE
'The First Female Lawyer in Scotland'
Speaker: Alison Lindsay
Madge Easton Anderson was the first woman in Scotland and the UK to
qualify as a lawyer. Later, she became the first woman to qualify in both
Scottish and English jurisdictions. Yet very little is known about her, unlike
her English contemporaries. The search for evidence about her life and career is
a work in progress, and Alison will sharing her researches to date in piecing
together the story of a pioneering Scottish lawyer.
Alison Lindsay has worked as an archivist in the National Records of Scotland
for 25 years, most recently as Head of the Legal and Historical Search Rooms
where every day she helps people seeking access to the 80km of records held
there. She is currently researching early Scottish women in the law as part of
the 2019 Women’s Legal Landmarks project.
Wednesday 11 May 2016
| 12.30-2pm, Alumni Theatre, London School of Economics (LSE),
54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ
In conversation with Susanne Baer
Speakers: Professor Susanne Baer, in conversation
with Professor Nicola Lacey
Professor Susanne Baer was elected a justice of Germany’s
Federal Constitutional Court in 2011. She is also a Professor of Public Law and
Gender Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and William W. Cook Global
Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School.
On Transnational Lives Lived with Law: Institutions,
Sources and Conduct
Speakers: Associate Professor Ann Genovese and
Associate Professor Shaun McVeigh (Melbourne Law School, University of
Since the nineteen eighties, law and humanities
scholarship has developed a number of distinct modes of investigating forms of
law and the ways in which we might conduct lawful relations or belonging to law.
The question of how a life might be lived, and lived well, sits at the centre of
the traditions of philosophy, history, and jurisprudence within both Indigenous
and non-Indigenous scholarship in Australia. Today, while concerns with living
and living well flourish in some disciplines, they do not rest easily within
legal thought. Legal biography and autobiography have both been important genres
of writing about law and the life of the law. Within the common law tradition
judicial biography is often closely linked to the calling and practice of office
and judicial and scholarly writing. However legal biography can also be thought
of in a broad sense as being concerned with the writing of the lives of law, and
of living with law.
In this paper we report on a number projects that
address relations between the living and writing of transnational lives and the
living and writing of law from within the tradition of conduct of life. Under
the heading of jurisography we will consider a range of sources and genres and
styles of writing that might be necessary to make conducts of scholarly lives
visible, across and between jurisdictions and institutions. We will give two
examples of how we have been considering the conducts of legal lives from our
own work, that use materials based at the LSE Library (the papers of British
sociologist Norman MacKenzie), and at the British Museum (The 2015 BP Encounters
Tuesday 22 March 2016
Sir Jeffrey Gilbert and the Common Law
Sir Jeffrey Gilbert (1674-1726) was a judge of the Court
of Exchequer, first in Ireland and then in England. As judge, he is best
known for his role in Annesley v Sherlock in which the British House of Lords
asserted its jurisdiction as final court of appeal over Irish cases. However, he
is best known to posterity for the large number of legal treaties he composed.
This talk by Professor Michael Lobban will explore how Gilbert came to
write these works, and what vision of the common law they contain.
Monday 8 February 2016
Lord Selborne: Churchman and Lawyer
Roundell Palmer, the
first Earl of Selborne, was Lord Chancellor in Gladstone’s governments in the
1870s and 1880s, and it was he who piloted the Judicature Bill of 1873 through
parliament. He was also a zealous churchman, whose defence of the Anglican
establishment contributed to his estrangement from the Prime Minister. In this
paper, Dr Charlotte Smith (University of Reading) will explore the
importance of Selborne’s religious principles for his wider views.
Tuesday 20 October 2015
Legal Life Writing: Marginalised subjects and sources
‘Life writing’ is an increasingly popular field of scholarship but much work to
date has focused on charting the lives of the elite; most often white male
judges and lawyers. Scholarship in this field has also been limited in its
inter-disciplinary scope. This workshop will discuss a new book, Legal Life Writing: Marginalised Subjects and
Sources, edited by Linda Mulcahy (LSE) and David
Sugarman (Lancaster) that explores the gaps in existing literature by
focussing on the lives of those usually marginalised or treated as outsiders. It
also endeavours to expand the range of sources it is considered legitimate to
use when researching legal lives. The collection aims to ignite debate about the
nature of the relationship between socio-legal studies and legal history;
explore how gaps in the existing literature can be filled when sources about the
marginalised are often scant; and challenge the methodologies employed in
conventional accounts of legal lives.
Thursday 4 June 2015
The U.K.’s First Woman Law Professor: an Archerian analysis.
Professor Fiona Cownie
is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education
and Student Experience) at Keele University. Her research focuses on legal
education. She has published widely in the area, including work on women in the
law school and values in law teaching, as well as on the everyday dress of law
teachers. Recently, she has become interested in the history of law schools, and
in particular of legal academics. She is the author of Legal Academics:
culture and identities (Hart, 2004) and co-author of A Great and Noble
Occupation: the history of the Society of Legal Scholars (Hart, 2009). Her
latest research project is an extended study of the biographies of early women
law professors in the U.K.
In 1970, at Queen's University Belfast, Claire Palley became the first
woman to hold a Chair in Law at a United Kingdom university. However, little is
known about the circumstances surrounding this event, or Claire Palley herself.
This article (part of an extended project exploring her life history) seeks to
address the question ‘Was there something about Claire Palley herself that made
it more likely she would become the United Kingdom's first female law
professor?’ Initially focusing on method, it seeks to answer that question by
utilizing, for the first time in the context of legal education, the theoretical
perspective provided by the work of the sociologist Margaret Archer. Reflecting
upon Claire Palley's subjectivity, it focuses on those aspects of her
personality which enabled her to pursue a successful career and become a pioneer
in her chosen profession.
Tuesday 19 May
In Conversation with Sir Stephen Sedley
Stephen Sedley, in conversation with Sir Ross Cranston
As part of LSE's Legal Biography Project, Sir Ross Cranston will interview Sir
Stephen Sedley on his life and career in the law. After a distinguished career
as one of Britain’s leading barristers, Sir Stephen was appointed a high court
judge in 1992, and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1999. During his twelve years on
the Court of Appeal, he made a significant contribution to the development of
many areas of modern English law, particularly in public law. He has also
written widely on English law and the constitution, and is a regular contributor
to the London Review of Books.
Sir Stephen Sedley was appointed a high court judge in 1992, and a Lord Justice
of Appeal in 1999.
Biber is a legal scholar, historian and criminologist at the University of
Technology Sydney. She is author of Captive Images: Race, Crime, Photography (Routledge,
2007), and co-editor of The Lindy Chamberlain Case: Nation, Law, Memory (ASP,
2009, with M. Arrow and D. Staines). She currently holds an Australian Research
Council Discovery grant for the project “Open Justice and Open Secrets: The
Cultural Afterlife of Criminal Evidence”, which will be published as a book in
2016 under the title In Crime’s Archive (Routledge). She is currently a Visiting
Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Birkbeck School of Law.
This paper examines some
of the archival records created and preserved in relation to the Australian
Aboriginal outlaw, Jimmy Governor. Convicted of multiple murders on the eve of
Australian Federation, Jimmy Governor, the Aboriginal serial killer and
Australia’s last outlaw, was nevertheless given every protection under the law.
Whilst most historical accounts of Governor focus upon his dreadful crimes, his
ability to elude capture, and his eventual execution, this paper seeks to
examine him through the law. The presentation will focus upon a special diary
kept by the officers guarding him at Darlinghurst Gaol in 1900-1901 during his
time in the condemned cell. It reflects upon the materiality of these records,
and in so doing, it advances an argument about archival records as evidence of
law, of duty, and of public administration. Whereas in the past Jimmy Governor’s
story has primarily been told in the genre of law-breaking, this article
proposes using archival records about Governor to reveal him as an agent of
law-making. On the brink of Australian Federation, the Jimmy Governor case
provides evidence of a commitment to the rule of law.
On 25 November, as part of the Legal Biography
project, Sir Ross Cranston will interview the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of
Cwmgiedd, about his career in the law. Called to the bar in 1969, Lord Thomas
practised as a commercial barrister, becoming a QC in 1984, before his
appointment as a judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in 1996. After being
appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2008, he became President of the Queen’s
Bench Division in 2011, In 2013, he succeeded Lord Judge as Lord Chief Justice,
Head of Criminal Justice and President of the Courts of England and Wales.
Professor Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard) will speak
as part of Black History Month.
Annette Gordon-Reed is Charles
Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and Harmsworth
Visiting Professor of American History in the University of Oxford. She is the
author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy
(1997) and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), which
won the Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award for Non Fiction.
She is also the author of Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History
Thursday 6 March 2014
In Conversation with the First Women Law
In celebration of International Women’s Day the
Legal Biography Project is hosting a public lecture in which Professors Linda
Mulcahy and Fiona Cownie will interview Professors Brenda Barrett, Carol Harlow
and Dawn Oliver.
These three women were amongst the first women law professors ever to be
appointed in the UK. The event will be followed by a drinks reception to mark
the re-launch of the University of London Women in Law network.
Legal biographies and autobiographies are a rich and important
source of information about the legal system, the evolution of case law and
statute and legal cultures more generally. Yet, despite a growing interest over
the last fifty years in the information such studies contain, they have been
much neglected in the study of law.
The Legal Biography Project, convened by the Law Department at
the LSE, seeks to remedy this omission by providing a focus in Britain for
biographical research in law. The aim of the project is to create a rich
foundation for scholarship on legal history, legal biography and the history of
the legal profession. Drawing on published works, official records, personal
letters, oral histories, art work and film we aim to facilitate a broader
discussion than has taken place to date about ideas of lawyering, judgecraft,
judicial identity, judicial diversity and the changes which have occurred to
these notions over time.
The pursuit of this goal has two main aspects. First, the
Project aims to promote scholarship in the field through a number of activities,
workshops and public lectures
the establishment of a network of scholars working in
related fields in both other departments at LSE and beyond;
Second, the Project aims to raise funds to develop the
collection of legal biographies that it received through the generous bequest of
an anonymous donor in 2011. Full details about the collection, and a catalogue
to enable research access, will be uploaded to this website in late November
Staff in the law Department are currently working on two projects that have
relevance to the way that stories about law and the judiciary are told. The
first of these is the Irish Feminist Judgments project which is exploring how
seminal cases might have been decided differently if a feminist had been
The second AHRC funded project focuses on how judicial identity and biography
are mediated by images of the judiciary:
Legal Biography Project: Judicial Interviews
Biographies Project is very pleased to announce the posting on its website of
seven substantial video interviews with senior lawyers involved in some of the
most profound constitutional changes affecting the judiciary in the UK for many
years. The interviews were conducted by the legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg
for the Constitution Unit of University College. We are very pleased to have
worked in partnership with the Constitution Unit in finding the videos a
permanent home. We believe that these interviews will be an invaluable resource
for researchers, students and the press for some years to come.
The Legal Biographies Collection is housed within the LSE Law Department in room
6.18 of the New Academic Building. The Collection is available for public access
during normal Reception hours, 10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday. Appointments,
however, are essential: please email
arrange a time. Please note that this is a reference collection
only, and all researchers will be required to provide appropriate
identification, and to fill out a form, in order to access the Collection.
Access to photocopying services can be arranged through Reception.
'Exploring the Social World of Crown Court clerks from the
1970s onwards', a research collaboration between the Legal Biography Project
and National Life Stories (British Library)