Post-Doctoral Researchers

Dr Andrew Cecchinato

JD (University of Trento), PhD (University of Trento) – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Contact Details: ac355@st-andrews.ac.uk

I am a Research Fellow in Legal History at the St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research. I joined the Institute in 2017 to work on the comparative legal history project Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the Late Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries. My research focuses primarily on the relevance of the common scientific heritage of European jurisprudence in William Blackstone’s construction of a scientific understanding of English Law. I have a first-class honour degree in Law and a PhD (cum laude) in ‘Comparative and European Legal Studies – History of Roman Law and European Legal Thought Curriculum’ from the University of Trento. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, as well as a Visiting Researcher at the Library of Congress, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Robbins Collection in Civil and Religious Law at the University of California, Berkeley.


Dr Will Eves

LLB (Warw.), LLM (Warw.), MLitt (St. And.), PhD (St. And.)

Contact Details: wae@st-andrews.ac.uk

My research interests combine both law and history. I first obtained an LLB in law, followed by an LLM in international law. After a period working in the legal sector, I undertook an Mlitt in mediaeval history here at St Andrews. I then completed a PhD in mediaeval legal history, also at St Andrews, on the use and development of the English common law action mort d’ancestor in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. During the final year of my doctoral research I held a 6-month Scouloudi Junior Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research. Immediately following the completion of my PhD thesis I worked as an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow on a public engagement legal history project at the School of History. I am currently a research fellow in the St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research working on the European Research Council funded comparative legal history project: ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’. My research focusses on the development of the concept of ‘ownership’ in England and Northern France in the early thirteenth century, and in particular the influence of the Roman law concept of proprietas on legal thought and practice in this period. In addition to medieval legal history I maintain a research interest in public international law, focussing in particular on international human rights law theory and practice, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law.


Dr Attilio Stella

BA (University of Verona), MA (University of Verona), PhD (University of Trento)

Currently a Research Fellow in Legal History in the ERC Advance Grant funded project ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’ (CLCLCL), I completed my MA and PhD on lordship and rural communities in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Italy, respectively at the University of Verona (2010) and the University of Trento (2014), working for a semester at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris (2012).

From September 2013 to August 2016 I have been an Early Stage Researcher at Tel Aviv University in the framework of the Marie Curie Innovative Training Network “Power and Institutions in Mediaeval Islam and Christendom.” In this project I have focused on social approaches to legal developments in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Italy and France.  More specifically, I deal with modern and medieval conceptualisations of ‘custom’ and ‘customary law’, the interplay of social configurations and specific patterns of law making, such as feudal law, and contextual trajectories from social practice or specific court cases to the legal texts. The finds of these investigations lie at the core of my latest research at the University of Verona (2016-17), where I have started working on a monograph on peasant and vernacular notions of ‘law’ and ‘custom’ in Communal Italy. The focus is on how the spread of literacy and notarial writing within the rural communities may have shaped these notions and how these notions were interpreted and dealt with by learned lawyers.

As a CLCLCL Researcher, I will conduct further analysis on the relations between the learned law on the one hand, judicial and social practice on the other one, by comparing archival and court evidence from sample areas of northern Italy (Milan, Bologna, Verona, Modena) with the multifaceted production of learned lawyers – treatises, peculiar collections of selected texts, glosses, notes, and commentaries. The main aim is to provide solid ground for comparison with my colleagues’ lines of investigation and try to see from new angles some dominant paradigms on the divide between the regions ruled by the Civil law and the ones ruled by the Common law.


Sarah White

BA Hons. (University of Victoria) MA Hons. (Centre for Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto)

Contact details: sbw@st-andrews.ac.uk

My research interests concern legal history, legal texts and court procedure. I obtained a BA Hons. in Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria, followed by an MA Hons. at the Centre for Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto. I then undertook a PhD in medieval legal history at the University of St Andrews, focusing on procedure and legal argument in the thirteenth-century ecclesiastical Court of Canterbury. I am also completing a diploma in manuscript studies at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto, with a focus on diplomatics and textual editing (funded by a Mellon Fellowship).

I am currently a research fellow at the University of St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research, working on the European Research Council funded comparative legal history project: ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries.’ My research focuses on twelfth- and thirteenth-century procedural treatises, mainly Ordines iudiciarii and Ordines iudiciorum produced in England, and on ecclesiastical and Roman legal procedure more generally.
In addition to my work on medieval legal history, I am also interested in the creation and use of digital archives and editions. As part of my PhD research, I constructed the Canterbury Court Records project: an online database of manuscript images and transcriptions created in collaboration with the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, sponsored by the Institute for Legal and Constitutional Research (ILCR), the Association for Manuscripts and Research Collections in Archives (AMARC), and the Royal Historical Society (RHS). https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/canterbury-records/
I am also the translator and editorial assistant for The Wills of Medieval England, 1066-1300, an edition of all extant, complete wills from the period, with translations, in collaboration with Dr Timothy Haskett (University of Victoria). [Forthcoming publication by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto]