Historical Research in Law

David Ibbetson

in The Oxford Handbook of Legal Studies

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780199248179
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Historical Research in Law

Show Summary Details


Legal history is by no means a unitary discipline. A convenient and conventional division can be made between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ legal history. The former is the history of lawyers' law, of legal rules and principles. Its sources are predominantly those that are thrown up by the legal process: principally statutes and decided cases, supplemented where possible with lawyers' literature expounding the rules and occasionally reflecting on them. The latter is the history of the law in practice, of legal institutions at work in society rather than legal rules existing in a social, economic, and political vacuum. This article discusses the historical foundations of legal historiography, the professionalization of legal history, internal legal history, and external legal histories.

Keywords: internal legal history; external legal history; legal historiography; legal rules; legal process

Article.  8532 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.