Legal Systems Very Different From Ours

Additional Readings (Preliminary list)

For each system, read one of the suggested readings and be willing to discuss it in class.

Imperial Chinese Law

[Read one of ...]

The Imperial Examination System is Alive and Well in Modern America
(Bryan Caplan blog post on higher education with lots of relevant links)

Cases From the Last Dynasty
Bodde, Derk and Morris, Clarence, Law in Imperial China, Harvard University Press 1967.
Read any ten cases from pages 214-289

Van Gulik, R.H., Crime and Punishment in Ancient China, 2nd edn 2007. Originally published as T’ANG-YIN-PI-SHIH, Parallel Cases from Under the Pear Tree”: A 13th Century Manual of Jurisprudence and Detection.
Read any ten cases

Bernhardt, Kathryn and Huang, Philip C.C., Civil Law in Qing and Republican China. Stanford University Press 1994. Chapter 2 or 4.

Johnson, Wallace, tr., The T'ang Code. pp. 55-71

Romani Law

Gypsy Law, Chapter 3

Gypsy Law
, Chapter 7

Sutherland 1975, pp. 292-304.

Sutherland 2017 pp. 86-94.

Marushiakova, Elena and Popov, Vesselin, “The Gypsy Court in Eastern Europe,” pp. 73-83

Leeson, Peter, “Gypsy Law,” Public Choice (2013) 155:273–292. Read at least part 3, An economic theory of Gypsy law.

Amish Law
Nolt, The Amish: A Concise Introduction, pp. 4-25 or 26-39 or 80-94

Kraybill, Johnson-Winer, and Nolt, The Amish, Chapter 19 or Chapter 22

Kraybill, The Riddle of Amish Culture, Chapter 4 or Chapter 11

Kraybill and Olshan, The Amish Struggle with Modernity, Chapter 3 or Chapter 4 or Chapter 12

Kraybill, ed., The Amish and the State, Chapter 4 or Chapter 5

Jewish Law

Blog post on the Furnace of Akhnai

Mishnah pp. 503-510 or 528-534  or 599-604

Maimonides, The Book of Torts, pp. 4-16 or pp. 160-176

Maimonides, The Book of Acquisitions  pp. 53-66 or pp. 208-215

Maimonides, The Book of Civil Laws, pp. 77-97 (lending) or pp. 189-203

Maimonides, The Book of Judges, pp. 137-150 or pp. 157-161.
(The disobedient son) or pp. 205-230 (kings and wars)

Shulhan Arukh, Chapter 253

Islamic Law

al-Qayrawani, 'Abdullah ibn Abi Zayd, The Risala: A Treatise on Maliki Fiqh
Read one of chapters 25, 32, 37

Keller, Nuh Ha Mim tr., Reliance of the Traveller. B1.0-3.5 or H1.0-4.4 or M 1.0-2.9 (marriage)

Hallaq, Wael, Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?

Pirate Law

"The Invisible Hook" pp. 139-154 or pp. 154 171


A General History of the Pyrates Chapter I or III or V

Prisoner's Law

Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally


Prison Gangs and the Community Responsibility System

Saga Period Iceland

Links to all of the sagas, many in English translations. Read as much as you find interesting of one of them, if possible parts describing feud or court scenes–I suggest some possible chapters. Of particular interest are Njal saga (Chapters 7-8, 21-24, 36-40, 56, 65, 72-76, 105), Hrafnkell saga, The Saga of the Confederates (Chapters 5-10).

Somali Law

I.M. Lewis on the history of Somaliland

Irish Law

Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, on reserve. Read any one chapter.

English Law in the 18th Century

Any twenty pages of:

The new & complete Newgate calendar; or, Villany displayed in all its branches. Containing accounts of the most notorious malefactors from the year 1700 to the present time
pp. 91-99 on the McDaniel gang are particularly interesting, but any chunk of it gives you an 18th century picture of 18th century crime.


Report from the Committee on the state of the police of the metropolis: with the minutes of evidence ... and an appendix, containing abstracts of the several acts now in force for regulating public houses, also, the Proceedings of the Common Council of the city of London for clearing the streets of vagrants, prostitutes, idle and disorderly persons.
pp. 175-214

Athenian Law

Douglas M. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens (on reserve) any chapter


Kathleen Freeman, The Murder of Herodes, (on reserve) any two trials


My outline of MacDowell's book.