Forum for Legal and Historical Research

Welcome to the Forum for Legal and Historical Research a new initiative by Reading School of Law.

Aims The Trial of Warren Hastings in Westminster Hall 1788

The Forum aims to further a dialogue between scholars working within the broad discipline of law in history, and between such scholars and archivists and librarians. As the name implies, it seeks to provide a forum for the promotion of their work and a space within which scholars and archivists from a range of backgrounds can discuss ideas and share knowledge and experience. Through this, and through the development of research-centred postgraduate provision in legal history, we hope to support and encourage postgraduate students in their progression from early career researchers to established scholars. We construe the Forum's remit widely, to include the promotion of not only British legal history but also of the study of law and history in European and Non-European jurisdictions.

Background and Activities

The Forum was formally launched in December 2007 at the Institute of Historical Research with a symposium upon the theme of "Representations of Justice: Narratives of the Trial" (symposium schedule), and the period since then has been a busy one.

Selected papers from the first symposium have been published in a special issue of the King's College Law Journal ((2008) 19(3) King's Law Journal) and the Forum hosted its second symposium, on the theme of "The Geography of Justice: Space and Place in Legal History" (symposium schedule) at Reading in September 2008.  A third symposium is planned for January 2010 on the theme of "Victorians and the Law".  Other planned activities include a series of workshops on the theme of "In Search of the Sources: The Archivist and the Researcher in Legal History".   

If you would like to contact us to discuss any aspect of the Forum, or perhaps to be advised by email of our schedule of events at Reading then we would be delighted to hear from you.

Postgraduate Programmes in Legal History

As a part of the Reading Law School, the Forum hosts and contributes to taught and research postgraduate programmes:

MA (Research) Legal History

The MA (Res) in Legal History is an interdisciplinary programme that equips graduates with a sophisticated understanding of legal and historical approaches to social, cultural and political phenomena, advanced skills in archival research, and the ability to undertake high level analysis of law and legal issues.  Its aim is to provide students with the research skills needed to undertake PhD research in law, history or related areas, or who are thinking of entering the legal profession.

Pursued as a part-time programme, it is also of great value to people who are already undertaking academic research or members of the Legal Profession, especially barristers, who wish to build their skills of legal and historical analysis with a view to contributing to the literature upon which superior courts, parliamentary bodies and law reform agencies frequently rely.

General information about postgraduate study in the Law School, entry requirements and admission can be found on the Postgraduate Taught pages.

PhD and LLM-by-Thesis

Proposals for postgraduate research are welcome in a wide range of legal history areas. For general information, see the Law School's Postgraduate Research pages. Propsective candidates wishing to discuss proposals, supervision options and related matters should contact either the Forum convenors or the School's Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Ioannis Glinavos.

Funding and Studentships for Postgraduate Study

Candidates for the MA (Research) Legal History and the PhD programmes may be eligible for funding that covers fees only or fees and stipend.

The Forum convenors welcome any inquiries from prospective candidates at any time of the year and would be happy to discuss the various opportunities for funding that may be available.  Please note that deadlines for studentship applications generally close a longway before candidates commence study.  If you are seeking funding for a programme that commences in October then studentship applications will usually be due in February.  Please don't hesitate to contact us well in advance.

For general information on funding opportunities for all of the above programmes, see the Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research pages.

People and Projects

The Forum is convened by Dr Charlotte Smith and Dr Stephen Banks.

As well as Charlotte and Steve, key researchers from Reading Law School include Professor Rosemary Auchmuty.

Postgraduate students include Louise Hague.

Visiting Academics

The Forum also welcomes visiting academics.  If you would like to be a visiting scholar then please contact the forum convenors with an expression of interest.

Contact Us

If you would like to contact us to discuss any aspect of the forum, or perhaps to be advised by email of our schedule of events at Reading then we would be delighted to hear from you.

Charlotte Smith c.l.smith@reading.ac.uk

Stephen Banks s.banks@reading.ac.uk 

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