Sarah White

BA Honours (Medieval Studies Program, University of Victoria)
MA (Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto)


Contact Details

Thesis title:  Legal Arguments and Equity in Church Courts in England in the Thirteenth Century
Supervisor: Prof. John Hudson

I am originally from northern British Columbia, Canada, and, after completing my BA at the University of Victoria and my MA at the University of Toronto, I started my PhD at the University of St Andrews in 2014 under the supervision of Prof. John Hudson.

My thesis examines the forms of legal argument that were used by litigants in the Court of Canterbury and the various canon law sources and procedural texts used to support these arguments. The metropolitan Court of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the majority of the ecclesiastical provinces and therefore seemed like a logical choice as far as diversity and quantity of material was concerned. I chose to work on material from the thirteenth century because this is a formative period in the history of the ecclesiastical courts of appeal and the records from the time can tell us a lot about the initial concerns of the court and its personnel, as well as demonstrate the development of the procedural systems that are more or less established by the start of the fourteenth century. The records themselves are varied, – consisting of correspondence, court rolls, scrapbooks, and some loose documents – the organization of which demonstrates, to some extent, the manner in which these records were collected and certainly how they were composed. The documents from the later half of the century containing exceptions, depositions and arguments drafted by the litigants form the core source material for my research.

More broadly, I am interested in legal and constitutional history, canon law and English Common Law.