Jurisdiction, Legal Community, and Political Discourse in Medieval Europe, 1050–1250

This project researches the history of medieval law in the UK between 1050-1250
Project status

The central Middle Ages (1050-1250) has been traditionally understood as a transformative period for European legal history, with the ‘re-discovery’ of Roman law providing rulers with new intellectual tools to define their power and authority. This has led to two narratives: the growth of papal and imperial claims to pan-European legal supremacy and the evolution of distinct bodies of national law which developed in conflict with one another. However, recent research is demonstrating that, instead of a Europe of competing jurisdictional blocks delineated through clear boundaries, these legal traditions were intellectually and socially interdependent, used by actors differently according to their immediate needs. Through the lens of ‘multi-legalism’, adopted from legal studies and international relations, this research project reconsiders the history of medieval law 1050-1250 and aims to contribute to a public discourse which invokes the medieval legal past in contemporary discussions on the relationship between national and transnational jurisdictions.

Principal Investigator: Dr Danica Summerlin, University of Sheffield

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