FoundLaw researchers at SIHDA 2015

Four of the project’s researchers gave presentations at the SIHDA 2015 (Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité). Jacob Giltaij gave a paper on “The origins of the Principles of Roman law”, Ville Erkkilä on “Teaching radically conservative legal history”, while Kaius Tuori talked about “The Emperor as Legal Educator: Aelius Aristides and Imperial Rescripts” and Tommaso Beggio presented his paper “Alcune considerazioni su uno scritto inedito di Paul Koschaker”.

FoundLaw welcomes Magdalena Kmak as our new post-doctoral researcher

The project is joined by a new post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Magdalena Kmak. Dr. Kmak received her PhD from the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, in 2009. Previously she has worked as a university lecturer in international law at the faculty of law, University of Helsinki and as a researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. Her current research focuses on the influence of exile on the development of law. Her research interests encompass exile studies and history of migration, public international law, human rights and international and European refugee and migration law.

Lecture: Pierangelo Buongiorno

Professor Pierangelo Buongiorno (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) will give a lecture titled “”The ethics of a jurist”. Edoardo Volterra between the Palingenesia Codicis, the edition of the Senatus consulta and the Italian Fascism (1930-1945)”. The lecture will be held at the faculty room of Social Sciences (Unioninkatu 37, 1st floor) on Monday, May 25th, 2015, at 10.15 am.

Call for Papers: Using the past: Romanists, totalitarianism and its legacy

Call for Papers: Using the past: Romanists, totalitarianism and its legacy
Rome, 22-23 October, 2015.
Villa Lante al Gianicolo, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae

Deadline: May 2, 2015.

The purpose of the project “Reinventing the foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964” ( is to trace the genealogy of the idea of a common European legal past, its creation, influence and implications of the theory as an ideological project.

After the two previous events, the first one in Helsinki, in May 2014, and the second one in Frankfurt am Main, in June 2015, the research group is organizing a workshop in Rome on the problematic relationship between history of law and, in particular, Roman law scholars, and the dictatorial or totalitarian regimes, especially with regard to the Italian and German ones. We therefore invite papers that explore the approach of Romanists towards the regime and the influence it had on their studies. If and to what extent the works of scholars may be considered as a reaction against the dictatorial power, or means to support it. The papers may analyze the repercussions that the study of Roman Law under the regimes had on the Law in force at the time and the influence it exercised on the later scholars, also with regard to the foundation of a new idea of European common legal culture.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Lorena Atzeri (Università Statale, Milano) and Cosimo Cascione (Università Federico II, Napoli).

Potential themes include, but are not limited to:
– idealization of Rome and its history and its implications;
– the influence of political circumstances and the experiences in Roman law scholarship;
– the different narratives of ancient Roman law proposed by the Italian Romanists, in order either to support, or to criticize Fascism;
– Roman Law in Italy between the regime and the new “Codice civile” of 1942;
– the roots of the new European legal history as a reaction to the totalitarian past;
– differences between German and Italian Roman law doctrine in perceiving the role of Roman law and their approach towards the regimes;
– different interpretations of Roman law as a foundation of a new idea of Europe.

The conference is organized by the FoundLaw project, funded by the European Research Council.

Please submit your abstract (300 words), in English, as a (word/pdf) file to Heta Björklund at foundlaw(a) Please include your name, academic affiliation and address in your email. The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 2, 2015. We will inform of the selections by the end of May.

The language of the meeting is English. There is no registration fee. The organizers are unfortunately unable to aid in the travel arrangements or accommodation of participants.

Workshop in Helsinki: The cultural breach of 2nd World War and ‘Europe’ in historiography and legal thought

The “Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964” project is organizing a workshop in Helsinki on the 27th of January, 2015. The theme of the workshop is “The cultural breach of 2nd World War and ‘Europe’ in historiography and legal thought”. All sessions will take place at the social sciences faculty room (Unioninkatu 37, 00170 Helsinki). Please find the programme below.

9.15-10.45 Session 1
Chair: Kaius Tuori
Emanuele Conte: The Medieval “Order” as an Alternative to Individualist Rule of Law. The Enduring Fascination of the German Constitutional History.
Pia Letto-Vanamo: From Bologna to Brussels – Legal Historians and European Integration.

11.15-12.45 Session 2
Chair: Jacob Giltaij
Timo Miettinen: How to do philosophy with the past? Phenomenology and the origins of European universalism.
Kaius Tuori: The narrative of ‘European’ in legal history.

15.15-16.00 Session 3
Chair: Ville Erkkilä
Timo Pankakoski: European Legacies: The Perspective of Carl Schmitt Scholarship.

Lecture: Janne Pölönen on the ranking of scientific journals

Mr. Janne Pölönen from the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies will speak about the much-discussed process of ranking scientific journals and what that will mean for the humanities and social sciences, using legal history, classics and European studies as examples. The location is the faculty room of Social Sciences (Unioninkatu 37, 1st floor) on Monday November 24th, 2014, at 16.15 pm.

FoundLaw researchers at SIHDA 2014

Three of the project’s researchers gave presentations at the SIHDA 2014 (Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité). Jacob Giltaij spoke of “Legal method and legal ethics in Schulz, Principles of Roman Law“, while Tommaso Beggio gave a paper on “Il Diritto romano quale ‘Juristenrecht’ nel pensiero di Paul Koschaker”, and Kaius Tuori on “Judge Julia Domna? The Rule and the Exception on Imperial Adjudication”.

Upcoming events in May

Professor Thomas Bennett (University of Cape Town), a noted expert of customary law and international law, will give a paper titled “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi: Ubuntu, the African doctrine of equity” on Wednesday, May 14 at 2 pm at the Faculty of Law, Suomen Laki -hall in Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3). The lecture is open for all.

Ex Africa semper aliquid novi: Ubuntu, the African doctrine of equity

Although an afterthought in South Africa’s Interim Constitution (1993), the term ‘ubuntu’ proved to be a vital means for giving the country’s majority African population a sense of ownership of the country’s new constitutional order. Ubuntu has been appropriated by courts and law-makers to function as a foundational principle in the South African legal system. The concept is obviously general and polysemous, and, as such, provides an idea of equity – previously lacking in South African law – that has been used to reconcile conflicts between rules and to decide hard cases. The development of an ubuntu jurisprudence is noteworthy because it marks the first time in Southern Africa that an indigenous concept has been introduced into the imported colonial laws (a precedent that has not gone unnoticed in other countries on the continent).

Oula Silvennoinen, the controversial historian of holocaust, will be coming to speak about “Holocaust Studies and the European Politics of Memory” on Tuesday, May 20 at 6 pm in the faculty room at the 5th floor of Porthania.