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Laurelin Middelkoop

Around the same time as his writing of De iure belli ac pacis, Hugo Grotius wrote a short tract: Introduction to the jurisprudence of Holland. He was the first to offer a systematic account of the substantive law of Holland, with a specific focus on rights over laws. I propose that by drawing a comparison between the Introduction and his other major law treatises, the key elements and differences of his argument in Mare liberum become clearer. Secondly, it shows a different side of Grotius as a legal theorist, one concerned with smaller legal issues surrounding property relations in Holland, where potential conflicts stemming from water damage are particularly common and likely. By focusing on how Grotius handles categories of smaller bodies of water, in Introduction but also in ibp and De iure praedae, his understanding of what makes some water susceptible to ownership is drawn out.

Gustaaf van Nifterik

It is not always easy to interpret Grotius’s constitutional theory that lies hidden within his book on the law of war and peace. After a very concise discussion of this constitutional framework, this study turns to various interpretations and conclusions by contemporary scholars that sit awkwardly within the theory. The interpretations of Richard Tuck, Peter Borschberg, Knud Haakonson, Frank Grunert, Deborah Baumgold, Marco Barducci, Daniel Lee and Gustaaf van Nifterik are discussed critically.

Emile Simpson

In this article I set out Hugo Grotius’s account of sovereign entities in the De Iure Belli ac Pacis (The Rights of War and Peace, 1625). In so doing, I seek to challenge a claim not uncommonly encountered in the recent historiography of the work, namely, that Grotius had no account of the state therein. In challenging that claim, I will make a further claim that while Grotius did have an account of the state, it was only one of two forms of sovereign entity, the other being the patrimonial kingdom. While this last claim is occasionally encountered in terms of a distinction between forms of government, I go further, on the basis that the distinction identifies a fundamental conceptual difference between free and unfree nations, which speaks not only to the form of government, but to the nature of the sovereign entity itself. Furthermore, it is my contention that through the patrimonial kingdom, Grotius was able to account for empire.1

Felix Waldmann

The following article presents the text and translation of an unpublished letter to Grotius from Edward Herbert (1582?–1648), Lord Cherbury. The letter pertains to Cherbury’s The expedition to the Isle of Rhé or Expeditio in Ream Insulam – his manuscript account of the duke of Buckingham’s abortive siege of the Isle of Ré in July–October 1627.

Michael Hein


This article examines the origins, differentiation, and migration of constitutional entrenchment clauses from the beginning of modern constitutionalism until today. It is based on a broad understanding of ‘entrenchment clauses,’ covering all constitutional provisions that make amendments either to certain parts of a constitution or under certain circumstances more difficult to achieve than ‘normal’ amendments or even impossible, i.e., legally inadmissible. In particular, the article answers three questions: (1) When, and in which contexts, did the different types of constitutional entrenchment clauses emerge? (2) How have these types spread globally? (3) Which constitutional subjects do such clauses protect, and thus, which main functions do they aim to fulfill? The article is based on the new and unique Constitutional Entrenchment Clauses Dataset (CECD), which comprises 860 written national constitutions worldwide from 1776 until the end of 2015.