View all news

Call for Papers: 'Insiders and Outsiders in the History of Law'

The University of Bristol Wills Memorial Building framed by leaves against a blue sky, as seen from the nearby Cabot Tower.

28 April 2023

The University of Bristol Law School is delighted to host the 26th British Legal History Conference, which will take place between 3 and 6 July 2024. Submissions are now open for abstracts on the conference theme: 'Insiders and Outsiders in the History of Law'.

The history of Bristol is closely entwined with the law: the city has long been a significant legal centre, and a great deal of legal business has been done here for centuries. Bristol has also been an important site for protest and resistance to the law, with connections to a wide variety of law reform causes.

The theme for the British Legal History Conference 2024, ‘Insiders and Outsiders in the History of Law’, draws on these elements of Bristol’s past.

Participants will be encouraged to explore the theme by reflecting on dividing lines drawn in the history of the law, and on who, or what, is within and without them.

Insiders, for example, may be lawyers, judges, parliamentarians, monarchs, and others with the power to influence law and its enforcement. Outsiders may be those often left out of, or marginalised in, classical accounts of legal history: for example, women, outlaws, colonial subjects, and enslaved people.

Consideration of insiders and outsiders also prompts us to examine jurisdictional dividing lines and classificatory rules, including substantive doctrinal boundaries and the borders between legal systems.

Moreover, the theme invites reflections on the study of legal history itself: which subjects and methods, and whose voices, are inside or outside our discipline?

Please note:

  • Abstracts should be emailed to by Friday 1 September.   
  • Decisions will be communicated by 31 December 2023.   
  • The word limit for abstracts is 300 words.   
  • Please submit abstracts as Microsoft Word documents.   
  • Abstracts will only be accepted for individual papers, not panels.   
  • Papers concerning any time period or part of the world are welcome, as are papers from scholars working on any aspect of legal history.   
  • Papers from postgraduate and early career researchers are welcome. If you are a postgraduate or early career researcher, you are encouraged to indicate this in your abstract, in order to aid us in selecting a range of speakers from different career stages.   
  • Speakers whose papers are accepted will be required to register for the conference and to pay the conference fee. There will be a reduced rate for postgraduate researchers.   
  • Speakers whose papers are accepted will be expected to present in person. Papers should be approximately 20 minutes in length. 


If you have any questions please contact the conference organisers Professor Gwen Seabourne and Dr Joanna McCunn at

For more information about this event please see our British Legal History Conference 2024 webpage.


Edit this page