Chercher in Nomôdos

3 juin 2012

MFO, conf. "Alternative Justice Yesterday and Today", Oxford, 13 June 2012

Information transmise par Fr. Audren:
Maison Française d'Oxford 


Alternative Justice Yesterday and Today

Wednesday 13 June 2012 (9.30am-4.30pm)

“If your subject is law, the roads are plain to anthropology”. This advice of the American judge Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. sounds quite convenient for the study of a famous legal topic, Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The concept of “restorative justice” was promoted by anthropologists: in the “small worlds” they were observing, - the face-to-face groups of exotic societies -, it was indeed the main way of resolving conflicts and it had been so for centuries. But transferring and spreading ADR as a model for the present day is no simple matter and that explains the uneven acceptance of alternative justice in modern societies. Because it relies on mediation and consensus, alternative justice involves a group. That means that this kind of justice can exist if strong solidarity is there to ensure a fair resolution of the dispute. Therefore, the question may be asked: is it possible to enforce alternative justice in societies where communities are weak and where the State has long claimed to be sole guardian of citizens’ rights? 

Some elements for an answer may be found in legal history. But the lessons that it teaches depend on the sources we use. For a long time, legal historians on the continent were much influenced by the culture of Statute Law and were inclined to view ancient laws in a rather narrow-minded fashion. Today, the time may have come to cast a new glance at our past and to consider the many ways to resolve conflicts. Is it possible that our ancient European societies do share elements with the exotic world ? Shall we follow Marcel Détienne and “venture to compare the incomparable” ? 

Focusing on legal practice and considering the ancient methods of handling disputes induces us to reconsider the birth of the two great European legal systems, namely the Common Law and the Continental Law systems.

  • 9h30: Introduction by *Soazick Kerneis* (Université Paris Ouest-MFO)
Morning session
Chair: Chris Wickham (University of Oxford, All Souls College)
  • 9h45-10h15: Boudewijn Sirks (University of Oxford, All Souls College), The episcopalis audientia in Late Antiquity.
  • 10h30-11h00: *Thomas Charles-Edwards* (University of Oxford, Jesus College), The Three columns of law: Homicide, Theft, and Arson in Welsh Law.
  • 11h30-12h: Emanuele Conte (Roma III), Karissimo amico domino Aymerico. The turn to Roman procedure and the beginning of legal doctrines.
Afternoon session
Chair: Laurent Douzou (Visiting Professor MFO)
  • 14h-14h30: Louis Assier-Andrieu (Ecole de Droit -- Science Po), Alternative dispute settlement institutions: historical processes or timeless structures?
  • 14h30-15h00:*Emmanuel Dockès* (Université Paris Ouest), Power struggle as an alternative justice? The example of the right to strike.
  • 15h30-16h30: Raymond Verdier (Directeur de recherches CNRS), Les ordalies, un phénomène transculturel: l'épreuve rituelle du feu chez les Kabyè du Togo (film de 2011 commenté)
Convener: Soazick Kerneis

Lieu et contact:
Maison Française d'Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road, Oxford, OX2 6SETel:(01865) 274 220 - Fax: (01865) 274 225 - - Website:

All Welcome