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The time for legal history: some reflections on Maitland and Milsom fifty years on

Sandberg, Russell ORCID: 2018. The time for legal history: some reflections on Maitland and Milsom fifty years on. Law and Justice 180 , pp. 21-37.

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2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the re-issued second edition of Pollock and Maitland’s The History of English Law. The first edition was published in 1895 with a second edition in 1898. The 1968 reissue was important because, although the text itself was not revised, a lengthy introduction and select bibliography was added by S F C Milsom. This and subsequent publications by Milsom developed a number of revisions of Maitland’s work which Milsom referred to as his ‘heresy’. Given the fiftieth anniversary of the reissue and Milsom’s death in 2016, it seems timely to reflect upon the legacy of both of these legal historians and the future of the historical study of law in general and the study of the interaction between religion and the law in particular. The objective here is not to provide a detailed appraisal of the lives and work of Maitland and Milsom; for that the reader can look elsewhere. The aim of this reflection is to suggest that the answers for bringing about the resurgence of historical approaches to law can be found in the very reasons for Legal History’s decline and that the work of Maitland and Milsom provide often unappreciated inspiration here. It will further be argued that historical approaches to law should not be the preserve only of legal historians but that the historical method should be part of the legal academic toolkit and that this is especially important for those who research the interaction between religion and the law.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Publisher: Edmund Plowden Trust
ISSN: 0269-817X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 23 April 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 13:30

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