Saturday, 30 May 2020

English Arbitration and Mediation in the Long Eighteenth Century (History of Arbitration and Mediation)

by Derek Roebuck, Francis Calvert Boorman and Rhiannon Markless

Publisher: HOLO Books, The Arbitration Press (2019)




I haven't written a blog for over 2 years, primarily because I was involved in writing this book with Derek and Francis. Sadly, on 27th April this year Derek passed away.

Derek and his wife Susanna Hoe became aware of my interest in the eighteenth-century legal system through my blogs and earlier PhD thesis and book: Gender, Crime and Discretion in Yorkshire, 1735-1775: Decision-Making and the Criminal Justice System. They asked if I would be interested in working with Derek on this project and during the course of the following two years Derek, Susanna, Francis and I became friends: it was a pleasure working and dining with them.

I don't class myself as a writer and get far more pleasure from the research. Therefore, Derek and I came to an arrangement whereby I would primarily undertake research of the legal records and he would turn my work into coherent text. Even when I did turn my hand to writing a couple of chapters Derek continued to turn my work into coherent text! 
This book is the last in a series of books written by Derek that takes the history of arbitration back to Ancient Greece.

The most important finding in this current work is that arbitration and mediation remained widespread throughout the period surveyed. Nevertheless, legal historians have scarcely noticed the large body of routine work by which the courts and others then supported and exploited arbitration. If they knew of its existence, little more than a mention was usually considered enough. 

Abstract: Our Early Modern period runs from 1700 to 1815. England was never at peace. The Act of Settlement 1701, whatever it did for the Constitution, did not end the fighting between English and Scots. Bonnie Prince Charlie was not seen off until Culloden in 1748. George Washington became president of a new country in 1789, the year of the French Revolution. Britain was intermittently at war with France or Spain. Yet the primary sources show that parties with disputes got on with their resolution in the same old ways, by arbitration and mediation. After an introduction, describing the social, economic, political and legal background, the individual documents which make up the primary sources are each examined, including court records, law reports, newspapers and memoirs. The practices of mediation and arbitration across various sectors of eighteenth-century England are explored. First the services offered by the State, primarily by Justices of the Peace but also by all the courts. Then the bulk of the work is devoted to private arbitration and mediation, including extensive sections on Commerce, Labour Relations, the London Theatre, Families and Property, Architects and Engineers, Sport and Betting, with an extended section devoted to the work of women. The lives of individuals in all strata of English society are revealed. Finally, a long chapter describes what has been called legalisation and professionalisation, showing the increasing involvement of lawyers.


Derek was already unwell by the time of our book launch at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in November 2019. He will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues.


I leave reviews of the book to others:



Karyl Nairn in THE RECORD of the Assocition of the Bar of the City of New York (Spring 2020 - vol 13 no 1. 71)

Bruno Loynes de Fumichon in Revue de l'Arbitrage (2019 - No 4 October-December) 

Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers, Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”, and Mediator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfrjhdUTdGw


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