Fulton Lecture Explores F. W. Maitland's Views on Common Law and Civil Law

The 2018 Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lecture in Legal History, delivered on March 29 by John Hudson, Professor of Legal History at the University of St. Andrews, examined prominent 19th century English legal historian Frederick William Maitland's preference for the English common law tradition over the Romano-canonical civil law system, and set his views in the context of earlier English legal writers, including John Fortescue, William Blackstone, and William Stubbs. 

“Maitland saw common law, at least in its creative phases, as not just different from, but better than Roman law," Hudson said during the lecture. "One may wonder whether Maitland was worried that Roman law was more rule-bound, more inflexibly devoted to reason, than was common law. And these characteristics have potential dangers. Now in this, he may have been mistaken, not just about the Roman period but also about the Medieval ius commune [Latin for "common law"], particularly with his focus in that period on law in books rather than law in action."

A full video of the lecture can be viewed above.