Aims of the seminar series
The Douglas M. Brooker Legal History Research Seminar Series at Birkbeck School of Law was inaugurated in 2009 as a series of seminars and other activities with regard to the study of legal histories.
The series maintains that legal history is an indispensable key to understanding how governments, societies and even private groups have formally solved, or not, their problems over time as well as towards understanding the limits of such perceived solutions. It is held, here, that legal history is today misunderstood, mischaracterised and consequently ignored by most of the legal profession and much of legal academia. This has occurred largely because of: overemphasis on legal training as opposed to legal education; belief that legal history is just irrelevant "old law"; "presentism" in legal pedagogy where the legal past is often presented as a primitive state of error now inevitably corrected by the more enlightened present; and due to simple ignorance of the legal past.
The research seminar series aims, thus, to promote the study of legal histories by amplifying the best voices in the field, organising seminars to which both academics, and undergraduate and postgraduate students can participate, as well as a series of workshops and conferences, in due course, on particular themes and historical periods.
The seminar series is dedicated to Douglas M. Brooker.