Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
Historical Jurisprudence has been referred to as the ’third pillar’ of jurisprudence by Professor Brian Tamanaha: it was once one of three core approaches to the theory of law, alongside legal positivism and natural law theory. However, since the turn of the twentieth century this approach has significantly declined in popularity and reputation. This decline is particularly surprising as the goal of historical jurisprudence: to develop legal theory by reference to the seams and scars of legal history, is no less valid or useful today - one hundred years after its sudden decline in popularity.
This seminar will explore in outline the work of Sir Henry Maine, Frederic W Maitland, and Sir Paul Vinogradoff in establishing this school of thought. By contextualising their academic approaches in their time period - with its own shifting politics and demands - it is possible to see them as both a product of their time and place and as scholars whose contribution remains valuable to us today. The seminar will conclude by exploring briefly why this approach fell into disfavour, and evaluating what might be rehabilitated from its remains.