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18:30 - 19:30 14 May 2015

Misleading cases in the customary Law: The pertinacious litigant and central Europe


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre | Wilkins Building (link Map)
Gower St | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Martyn Rady, is Masaryk Professor of Central European History at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, where he has been teaching since 1990. He worked as part of the team that translated and edited the two most recent volumes in the series Decreta Regni Mediaevalis Hungariae. His latest book, Customary Law in Hungary: Courts, Texts and the Tripartitum, considers the legal history of Hungary from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries and is due to be published in 2015.

Historians have tended to regard customary law as either an unwritten text communicating fixed principles or else as a less sophisticated variety of the Common Law. A number of its principles were inadvertently satirized by A. P. Herbert through the interventions of his pertinacious litigant, Alfred Haddock. Customary legal systems are, however, readily explicable as a means of obtaining equitable solutions that comport with a popular understanding of the law’s content. In the modern period, customary law became one of the markers of central Europe’s supposed backwardness and, paradoxically, also a symbol of national prestige and uniqueness.


Tessa Rickards
+44 (0)20 7679 1346 | t.rickards@ucl.ac.uk