Most contributions on agency and representation in medieval law tend to look at collegiate offices, not individual ones: when, how and to what extent can a plurality of people be represented by a single individual. For individual offices – that is, offices not representing a collectivity – the approach was typically another. From the king to the magistrate, the office was not necessarily viewed as a different subject from that of the individual person discharging it, but rather construed as a series of powers vested in that person.
The geography of the legal profession and legal culture, and the possibility that there were major regional differences in the use of law and legal institutions across historic Europe have been little studied by historians. This article compares England and Wales with Scotland, whose private law was different, and Ireland, where English common law worked alongside indigenous law traditions. Lawyers can be divided between those who pleaded and those who prepared documents, but the nomenclature and professional development of ‘men of law’ differed considerably within the component parts of Britain and Ireland. The article brings out these differences and, in so doing, hopes to provide a framework for comparing the place of the legal profession and the use of law over space and time. It is in two parts. The first explores the changing numbers of different sorts of legal practitioner in England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland: barristers, solicitors/attorneys, advocates, writers, and notaries. From an early date, England and Wales had many more lawyers per head of population than other parts of what became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the legal profession was dominated by attorneys, who far outnumbered barristers, whereas in Scotland and Ireland those who pleaded formed a significant proportion of all men of law. The second part seeks to explain this difference, by examining how different societies related to the formal practices of law and to alternative forms of dispute resolution. The component parts of the British Isles had distinctive social structures, economic compositions, religious emphases, and cultural forms, which meant that the place of law and lawyers in their societies varied considerably. The argument is that, as well as having different legal institutions and professional structures, Scottish and Irish people used the law more selectively than their English (and perhaps also Welsh) equivalents.
Agnieszka Kacprzak and Maria Nowak
The present article offers a commentary on two passages from the Gnomon of idios logos: § 41 (BGU V 1210, ll. 115-116), which pertains to a quarter of the inheritance left by an Egyptian who adopted a child picked up from a dump-hill, and § 107 (BGU V 1210, ll. 238-239), which repeats the same rule with regard to everyone, regardless of their civic status. The following problems are subject to our investigation: 1) Which specific type of adoption was expressed by the verb υἱοποιέομαι in § 41? 2) Why does the adoption of foundlings not appear in documentary sources? 3) What was the scope of the cited provisions? The article offers a survey of the legal status of exposed children and (im)possibilities of their adoption in law and legal practices in Roman, Greek and Egyptian sources.