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Project Workshop at Roma Tre

On 7 March 2018, Andrew Cecchinato, Attilio Stella, Sarah White and Will Eves took part in a roundtable at the University of Roma Tre to discuss their work and the nature of the project.

The paper Andrew presented in Rome outlined the general purpose of the project and presented an overview of his individual research. Andrew took this opportunity to present a select reading of the Introduction to the Commentaries, by focusing on Blackstone’s analysis of the relationship existing between English municipal law and the ius commune. He then compared Blackstone’s analysis with a number of English and Continental sources equally addressing the relationship between ius commune and municipal laws and highlighted their commonalities. During the discussion, Andrew was able to expand on Blackstone’s engagement with Medieval and Early Modern European jurisprudence

Sarah outlined the main area of her research: specifically, how the development and implementation of Romano-canonical procedure in England, mainly through treatises, may have influenced elements of the developing Common Law. She discussed the treatises used in this investigation and outlined some possible avenues of inquiry relating to theory and practice. Sarah received questions concerning the use of Roman law actions in both Romano-canonical and Common Law treatises, and discussed how this could affect the understanding and organisation of procedure in either system

Will spoke about the concepts of possession and proprietas in Roman law, and their potential influence on the legal reforms introduced by Henry II in England in the twelfth century. He highlighted the problems we encounter when we try to describe actions introduced in England during this period as either ‘possessory’ or ‘proprietary’, and discussed whether the Roman law idea of ‘ownership’ could be used to describe landholding in England during the High Middle Ages. During the discussion Will considered the terminology of ‘right’ in English law, and spoke more on the relationship between lordship, tenure, and ideas of ownership in medieval Europe.

In his talk on the making of feudal law in 12th- and 13th-century Italy, Attilio developed three major points: (1) the question of how practice and real litigation related to the Libri Feudorum and later legal literature on fiefs; (2) how practices which were foreign to the Roman law tradition could be framed into Roman law categories, in particular the legal actiones; (3) the contextual construction of the ius commune, from real facts and actual court cases to universal rules.