My research interests combine both law and history. I first obtained an LLB in law, followed by an LLM in international law. After a period working in the legal sector, I undertook an Mlitt in mediaeval history here at St Andrews. I then completed a PhD in mediaeval legal history, also at St Andrews, on the use and development of the English common law action mort d’ancestor in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.
During the final year of my doctoral research I held a 6-month Scouloudi Junior Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research. Immediately following the completion of my PhD thesis I worked as an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow on a public engagement legal history project at the School of History.
I am currently a research fellow in the St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research working on the European Research Council funded comparative legal history project: ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’. My research focusses on the development of the concept of ‘ownership’ in England and Northern France in the early thirteenth century, and in particular the influence of the Roman law concept of proprietas on legal thought and practice in this period.
In addition to medieval legal history I maintain a research interest in public international law, focussing in particular on international human rights law theory and practice, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law.
‘Common Law’, in The Routledge Medieval Encyclopedia Online (forthcoming, Routledge, 2019).
‘Threats and Intimidation in Anglo-Norman Legal Disputes’, in Kate Gilbert and Steven D. White, eds, Vengeance, Violence, Emotions, and Law in the Middle Ages (Brill, 2018).
‘Justice Delayed: Absent Recognitors and the Angevin Legal Reforms, c. 1200’, in Travis R. Baker, ed., Law and Society in Later Medieval England and Ireland: Essays in Honour of Paul Brand (Routledge, 2017)
Select Conference Papers:
‘Connecting Treatise and Reality: Mort d’Ancestor in Bracton and in the Courts’. Presented at the British Legal History Conference, University College London, July 2017
‘Between Text and Authority: Writ Errors and Actions of Mort d'Ancestor c.1194 – 1230’. Presented at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, July 2017.
‘The Use and Misuse of Mort d’Ancestor: Writ Errors and Failed Litigation in the Early Common Law’. Presented at the Cambridge Centre for English Legal History Seminar Series, May 2017.
‘Justice Delayed: Recalcitrant Jurors and the Angevin Legal Reforms’. Presented at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, July 2016.
‘Striking the Balance: Fairness and Efficiency in Procedural Design of Mort d’Ancestor’. Presented at the London Society for Medieval Studies Seminar Series, April 2016, Institute of Historical Research.
‘Threats and Intimidation in Anglo-Norman Legal Disputes’. Presented at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, July 2015.
‘Royal Justice: Actions of Mort D’Ancestor Before King John in the Years Preceding Magna Carta’. Presented at the Lincoln Magna Carta Conference, April 2015, University of Lincoln.
I currently teach on the module SC1901: Mediaeval Scotland 1100-1513 (evening degree programme).