This book analyses the legal literacy, knowledge and skills of people in premodern and modernizing Europe. It examines how laymen belonging both to the common people and the elite acquired legal knowledge and skills, how they used these in advocacy and legal writing and how legal literacy became an avenue for social mobility. Taking a comparative approach, contributors consider the historical contexts of England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. This book is divided into two main parts. The first part discusses various groups of legal literates (scriveners, court of appeal judges and advocates) and their different paths to legal literacy from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The second part analyses the rise of the ownership and production of legal literature – especially legal books meant for laymen – as means for acquiring a degree of legal literacy from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century.
‘Rethinking’ legal reasoning seems a bold aim given the large amount of literature devoted to this topic. In this thought-provoking book, Geoffrey Samuel proposes a different way of approaching legal reasoning by examining the topic through the context of legal knowledge (epistemology). What is it to have knowledge of legal reasoning?
At a more specific level the pursuit of this understanding is conducted through posing a number of questions that are founded on different approaches. What has legal reasoning been? What are the institutional and conceptual legacies of this history? What is the literature and textual heritage? How does it compare with medical reasoning and with reasoning in the humanities? Can it be demystified? In exploring these questions Samuel suggests a number of frameworks that offer some new insights into the nature of legal reasoning.
The author also puts forward two key ideas. First, that the legal notion of an ‘interest’ might perhaps be a very suitable artefact for rethinking legal reasoning; and, secondly, that fiction theory might be the most viable ‘epistemological attitude’ for understanding, if not rethinking, reasoning in law.
Contents: Preface General introduction 1. What was the contribution of the medieval civilians? 2. What was the contribution of the Roman lawyers? 3. What was the contribution of the later civilians and the common lawyers? 4. What is the institutional legacy? 5. What is the legal literature legacy? 6. How do legal reasoners treat facts? 7. Is legal reasoning like medical reasoning? 8. Is legal reasoning like reasoning in film studies? 9. Is legal reasoning based on fictions? 10. Can legal reasoning be rethought? 11. Rethinking legal reasoning: should jurists take interests more seriously? 12. Should jurists take interests more seriously (continued)? Concluding Remarks Bibliography Index
Law and Language in the Middle Ages investigates the encounter between law and legal practice from the linguistic perspective. The essays explore how legal language expresses and advances power relations, along with the ways in which the language of law legitimates power. The wide geographical and chronological scope showcases how power, legitimacy and language interact, moving the discussion beyond traditional issues of identity or the formation of nation-states and their institutions. What emerges are different strategies reflective of the diverse and pluralistic political, legal, and cultural worlds of the Middle Ages.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
part 1 Translation and Interpretation of Law
1 Why Laws Were Translated in Medieval England: Access, Authority, and Authenticity ,Bruce O’Brien
2 Translating Justinian: Transmitting and Transforming Roman Law in the Middle Ages ,Ada Maria Kuskowski
3 Leges Iutorum: The Medieval Latin Translation of the Law of Jutland, Michael H. Gelting
4 The Languages and Registers of Law in Medieval Ireland and Wales, Paul Russell
part 2 The Languages of Legal Practice and Documentary Culture
5 Latin and the Vernacular in Medieval Legal Documents: The Case of Denmark, Anders Leegaard Knudsen
6 Between the Language of Law and the Language of Justice: The Use of Formulas in Portuguese Dispute Texts (Tenth and Eleventh Centuries) , André Evangelista Marques
7 The Dangers of Using Latin Texts for the Study of Customary Law: The Example of Flemish Feudal Law during the High Middle Ages, Dirk Heirbaut
8 Sources of Legal Language: The Development of Warranty Clauses in Western France, ca.1030–ca.1240, Matthew McHaffie
part 3 Methodology, Interaction, and Language
9 Law and Language in the Leges Barbarorum: A Database Project on the Vernacular Vocabulary in Medieval Manuscripts, Anette Kremer and Vincenz Schwab
10 ‘And since We are No Lawyers, We Will Void the Lawsuit with Battle Axes’! Voiding a Lawsuit in Old Icelandic Procedural Law, Werner Schäfke
11 Biblical Analogues for Early Anglo-Saxon Law, Carole Hough