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A network of legal transfer

The public international law education of Zhu Qiwu under the wings of Wang Tieya, Huang Zhengming and Humphrey Waldock

Li Chen


Legal transfer is a critical part of China’s intellectual history of legal education. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, waves of young ambitious Chinese students embarked on arduous journeys to the Western countries to obtain modern legal education, particularly in the area of public international law. One such prominent Chinese legal scholar is Zhu Qiwu, who received his public international law education at the Graduate School of National Central University in Chongqing and the Oxford University Faculty of Law in the 1940s. This article seeks to use Zhu as an example of this dynamic legal transfer process, and examines his educational background both in China and in the UK. In the process, this paper will also explore the resulting network of exchange of legal thoughts formed amongst Zhu and his teachers, Wang Tieya, Huang Zhengming and Humphrey Waldock. In particular, it will reveal how an early article of Wang had planted the seed of a research topic pertaining to the relationship between treaty and municipal laws in Zhu’s mind during his days at the National Central University, which Zhu then took to Oxford and painstakingly watered to fruition in the form of his Oxford doctoral dissertation in 1949. Zhu’s doctoral dissertation made significant contribution to the body of Chinese legal scholarship in that era, but it was never published. This paper thus takes this opportunity to bring to light its main structure and contents.

Marcin W. Bukała


The aim of the article is to highlight some crucial aspects of the just price concept and the differences between the medieval foundations and the late scholastic views on the topic. The paper refers especially to Wim Decock’s discourses on the ideas of ‘fairness in exchange’ in the book Theologians and contract law, The moral transformation of the ius commune(ca. 1500-1650)(Leiden 2013). The discussion concerns chiefly such issues as: role of Thomas Aquinas’s concepts (1), value in economic exchange (2), relativity in exchange (3), the distinction between furtum and turpe lucrum (4), changing views on the common good in the scholastic ethics of economic life, e.g. in the discussion of ‘Merchant of Rhodes’ casus (5).

Paolo Angelini


The Serbian version of the Syntagma of Blastares was included in the tripartite codification enacted by the emperor Stephan Dušan in 1349. After the translation from Latin into Greek (6th century), and then from Greek into Serbian (14th century), Justinian’s legislation again obtained the force of law. Through the Byzantine version, Roman law was transplanted and adopted in the new born Serbian-Greek Empire. The Serbian version of the Syntagma of Blastares must be considered as a sort of Lex Romana Serborum, because in some cases the Roman law was literally translated, while in others it was epitomised. However, its contents were always in conformity with Justinianic law.

Jorge E. Viñuales


This essay introduces the legal dimensions of the Anthropocene, i.e. the currently advocated new geological epoch in which humans are the defining force. It explores in this context two basic propositions. First, law as a technology of social organisation has been neglected in the otherwise highly technology-focused accounts by natural and social scientists of the drivers of the Anthropocene. Secondly, in those rare instances where law has been discussed, there is a tendency to assume that the role of law is to tackle the negative externalities of transactions (e.g. their environmental or social implications) rather than the core of the underlying transactions, i.e. the organization of production and consumption processes. Such focus on externalities fails to unveil the role of law in prompting, sustaining and potentially managing the processes that have led to the Anthropocene. After a brief introduction to the Anthropocene narrative and the possible role of law in it, it focuses on three main questions: the disconnection between natural and human history, the profound inequalities within the human variable driving the Anthropocene, and the technological transition required to reach a sustainable societal organisation.

Johannes Magliano-Tromp

In 1617, Hugo Grotius had his treatise On satisfaction published. Explicitly directed against Faustus Socinus’s 1594 book On Jesus Christ as our Saviour, it purports to contribute to the confutation of the Italian scholar’s teachings, which in the Netherlands were widely regarded as utterly heretical. The way in which he perceived Socinus, however, was mainly determined by the image of Socinianism as disseminated by its detractors, foremost Sibrandus Lubbertus of Franeker. Grotius did read Socinus’s work, but not with much care, and at least unaccommodatingly. The reason for Grotius to intervene in this theological debate is often assumed to have been to vindicate his and his ecclesiastical party’s views on religion as orthodox, or at least far removed from Socinianism and other heresies. In contrast, it is proposed here to take the explicit motivation in the preface at face value, and assume that Grotius wrote it to refute Socinus on the basis of his juridical, philological, and historical errors, simply because he could, and genuinely abhorred Socinianism as he had learned to understand it.

Benjamin Straumann

In this Reply, I argue that pace Knud Haakonssen it is dubious that Adam Smith managed to ‘blow up’ Hugo Grotius’s universalist system of natural jurisprudence. Rather, Smith emerges as a closet rationalist who put forward crypto-normative universalist claims himself and found that he could not in the end improve upon Grotius’s system. Grotius was not seen by Smith as a ‘casuist’ tout court. I try to give an explanation for the tensions introduced into Smith’s work by his incorporation of key aspects of Grotius’s theory of justice. Furthermore, I try to clarify in what regard Grotius should be seen as a novel and original thinker. Lastly, I argue in favor of according ideas and arguments their own weight, against a facile contextualism that is always in danger of falling prey to the genealogical fallacy.