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Author: M.C. Mirow

Legal historians have surmised that court records of the British province of East Florida (1763-1783) have been either lost or destroyed. This assumption was based on the poor conditions for survival of documents in Florida and statements made in the secondary literature on the province. Nonetheless, a significant number of documents related to the courts of British East Florida exist in the National Archives (Kew). These materials reveal an active legal culture using English law in a wide range of courts including (1) the Court of Common Pleas; (2) the Court of Chancery; (3) the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Oyer et Terminer, Assize and General Gaol Delivery; (4) Special Courts of Oyer et Terminer; (5) the Court of Vice-Admiralty; (6) the Court of Ordinary; (7) the General Court; and (8) a District Court.


This article studies a portion of the documents related to the Court of Common Pleas to describe the nature of the court’s practice in civil litigation. It closely examines three cases for which sufficient extant pleadings permit the reconstruction of the general contours of recovery for breach of a sales contract through an action of trespass on the case, for contract enforcement through an action of covenant, and for recovery of a sum certain through an action of debt. The small window provided by these cases into the activities of this court reveals a heretofore unknown world of English common law in North America during and after the American Declaration of Independence. This new information supplements and challenges our established understanding of colonial law in North America in the revolutionary period and the use of law in the British Empire. This study illustrates the many opportunities these sources offer to legal historians of the period.


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In: Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'histoire du droit / The Legal History Review
In: Colonial Adventures: Commercial Law and Practice in the Making
Author: M.C. Mirow

Predominantly a European phenomenon, the study of legal iconography has expanded to the common law world and informed approaches to Anglo-American legal development. European painting, sculptures, and other artwork were used in forensic settings to channel behavior of judges, lawyers, and litigants. Such artwork often combined religious perspectives, such as depictions of the Last Judgment, but might also reflect more secular notions such as Justice. Cultural historians and theorists have supplemented these traditional approaches by expanding the scope of the analysis of the relationship between image and law. This book continues these scholarly efforts. It is, in essence, a study of legal iconography at ground level. The viewers, interpreters, and expositors of Cortada’s paintings are constitutional scholars rather than historians or theorists of law, art, or culture. This work analyses common law materials, constitutional cases, and the depiction of specific cases in twenty-first century artwork. It illustrates the potential for legal iconography to offer deeper insights into law, legal institutions, justice, injustice, and legal change in modern society.

In: Painting Constitutional Law
Xavier Cortada’s Images of Constitutional Rights
Volume Editors: M.C. Mirow and Howard M. Wasserman
In May It Please the Court, artist Xavier Cortada portrays ten significant decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States that originated from people, places, and events in Florida. These cases cover the rights of criminal defendants, the rights of free speech and free exercise of religion, and the powers of states. In Painting Constitutional Law, scholars of constitutional law analyse the paintings and cases, describing the law surrounding the cases and discussing how Cortada captures these foundational decisions, their people, and their events on canvas. This book explores new connections between contemporary art and constitutional law.

Contributors are: Renée Ater, Mary Sue Backus, Kathleen A. Brady, Jenny E. Carroll, Erwin Chemerinsky, Xavier Cortada, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, Leslie Kendrick, Corinna Barrett Lain, Paul Marcus, Linda C. McClain, M.C. Mirow, James E. Pfander, Laura S. Underkuffler, and Howard M. Wasserman.
Studies in the History of Private Law is a peer-reviewed book series on the history of private law in the broadest sense. It focuses on the history of the two major families of private law in the world, European and Anglo-American private law. The history of civil procedure is expressly included in the series. There is no restriction in terms of chronology or geography as long as the particular object studied finds its origin in these two families. The approach is preferably comparative in nature, both vertically and horizontally, although studies that approach the subject matter from a different perspective are not automatically excluded. The aim of the series is to study the historical development of particular areas and topics of private law and to explain existing differences and similarities between and within the two major families from a historical perspective. An additional aim is to contribute to a mutual understanding of different approaches to similar problems within the various legal systems. The series also studies the growing need for a ius commune in today’s globalising world and provides the necessary historical information for those working in the field of harmonisation projects. The series not only incorporates dogmatical studies, but also offers a forum for interdisciplinary studies that do not only concentrate on private law and legal history but which, nevertheless, have private law and legal history as their main theme. In addition, it welcomes studies that study private law in relationship to other fields of law, for example constitutional law.

This is a subseries of the Legal History Library.