The American Society for Legal History announced the winners of its Surrency
and Sutherland Prizes at the Austin meeting.
The Committee recommends that the Surrency Prize for 2004 for the best article
appearing in Vol, 21, Law and History Review, be awarded jointly to the
Daniel J. Hulsebosch, for "The Ancient Constitution and the Expanding Empire:
Sir Edward Coke's British Jurisprudence."
Professor Hulsebosch surveys afresh Sir Edward Coke's constitutional
jurisprudence, in order to clarify Coke's views of the rights and liberties of
the King's subjects in Britain and in the overseas empire, and to contrast
Coke's actual views with the later uses made of them by rebellious American
colonists. He gives us a Coke still immersed in seventeenth-century ideas of
common law as one of many jurisdictions, as applying to England rather than to
British subjects, and as jurisdictional "tied to specific remedies in
specific courts" rather than a substantive jurisprudence of principle. But he
also shows how, through mediaeval-sounding doctrines such as personal ligeance
of subjects to their King, Coke unintentionally pioneered a free-floating
jurisprudence of English liberty. Eighteenth-century colonial lawyers pried
the arguments loose from their original local and institutional matrix to
convert them to a law of fundamental rights enforceable by subjects abroad
even without English courts to enforce them in. Written with grace and vigor,
the article brings bright new light to old debates over the constitution of empire.
Sarah Hanley, for "'The Jurisprudence of the Arrets': Marital Union, Civil
Society, and State Formation in France, 1550-1650."
Professor Hanley tells, from previously unexplored sources, the fascinating story of how early-modern French jurists built up a body of decisions (arrets)
on marital law that aggressively challenged and revised canon law doctrines
jurisdiction, especially by repudiating those church doctrines that permitted
clandestine marriages. The jurists had their decisions ratified and
by a series of statutes (Ordinances) that sought to displace church law "by
means of bringing criminal charges against abettors of marriages they deemed
illicit and granting appeals to those who sought escape from them" with a
distinctively French "Marital Law Compact." Only public marriages, they
argued, recognized by a public jurisprudence of arrets in civil courts could
form the families that in turn would constitute French civil society and the
French nation. Closely argued and carefully supported, this remarkably
original and eye-opening article convincingly demonstrates how secular jurists
deployed marriage law as an instrument of state-building.
The Sutherland Prize for 2004 is shared between:
Professor Eliga Gould, of the University of New Hampshire, for his article, "Zones of Law, Zones of Violence: The Legal Geography of the British
Atlantic, circa 1772," 60 William and Mary Quarterly 471-510 (2003),
Professor Gould's article charts the legal geography of the Atlantic portions of the British Empire. The article skillfully weaves together two important threads in recent scholarship: the rise of Atlantic history and the emergence of legal geography as an analytical category. The cartological metaphor hearkens back to Blackstone, who saw his Commentaries as a map of English law. The article successfully deploys the metaphor to illuminate the tensions between the Empire's center and periphery, and the recurring violence within the Atlantic world. Indeed, as the article persuasively demonstrates, the legal pluralism of that world was itself the source of conflict.
Professor Daniel Klerman, of the University of Southern California, for his
article, "Was the Jury Ever Self-Informing?" 77 Southern California Law
Professor Klerman's article addresses a question of fundamental
importance to the history of the jury. Recent scholarship, focusing on the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, has questioned whether the medieval jury
was ever self-informing. Drawing on an extensive array of primary sources
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the article convincingly answers the
question in the affirmative. Jurors in the thirteenth century primarily gained
information in advance of trial; there were instances of witness testimony, but
these were uncommon. Why then did the self-informing jury decline? The
article points, among other factors, to two changes in criminal procedure: the transition from infrequent eyre to twice-yearly jail delivery, which made it
hard to recruit local jurors, and the exclusion of presenting jurors from the
trial jury, which deprived the latter body of the people most knowledgeable about the accusation. Self-informing, as Professor Klerman persuasively
explains, was a matter of degree: largely present in the thirteenth century,
noticeably more absent by the fifteenth.
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