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Law and the Humanities Research Interest Group

The Law and Humanities Research Interest Group, founded in 2018, encourages, promotes, and produces research in law and the humanities with a focus on the cross-disciplinary fields of legal history, law and literature, law and film, law related art-visual imagery and legal architecture.  

The group is actively welcoming members from other faculties who would be interested in exploring a legal dimension in their work.

Group convenors: Helen Rutherford and James Gray

Upcoming Events:

Virtual Seminar Series: Through a Legal Lens- Law, History and Visual Culture

(Jointly organised with the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Leeds Beckett University and York University- supported by the Society of Legal Scholars)

Every Thursday 3:00-6:30 pm BST from 26th May to 23rd June

cluster of words relating to law for the Through a Legal Lens seminar seriesOur initial workshop plan has grown from one afternoon to a five-part seminar series. The seminars encourage and facilitate the growing interest in the interdisciplinary field of law, history and visual culture. As such, these reflections break away from the traditional view of law as an image-less, a text-based discourse. By incorporating scholarship from a wide range of disciplines, it offers an innovative and lively forum for the discussion of innovative and path-breaking legal and historical research on visual culture. The papers in this seminar series cover a wide range of themes, motifs and legal issues. Together, these seminars will showcase the ideas of 30 speakers based around the world.

The seminars and topics are:

Seminar 1: Art, Law and Social Justice (Thursday 26th May 3:00-6:30 pm BST)

Seminar 2: Reflections of Law and Legal Prisms (Thursday 2nd June 3:00-6:30 pm BST)

Seminar 3: Visual Evidence in Law and Legal Processes (Thursday 9th June 3:00-6:30 pm BST)

Seminar 4: Visualising Law in Society (Thursday 16th June 3:00-6:30 pm BST)

Seminar 5: Visual Legal Iconography (Thursday 23rd June 3:00-6:30 pm BST)

Please RSVP for individual events by using the Eventbrite links above.

To register for all the seminars, please contact:

For all matters technical, please contact:

Law, History and Visual Culture Programme

Book of Abstracts

Conferences and Events

On the 28th of October, Cerian Griffiths gave a presentation to the Law and History Network entitled, 'Fraud and the City of London: The role and influence of City Alderman'

On the 16th of November, Cerian Griffiths was invited by the Oxford University Legal History Forum to discuss her forthcoming monograph, 'Prosecuting London's Fraudsters 1760-1820: Swindlers, Tricksters and the Law' (Bloomsbury, 2023)

Seminar for the Northumbria Institute of Humanities by Helen Rutherford and Dr Clare Sandford Couch (Visiting lecturer Newcastle University). Picturing early nineteenth century courtroom actors: Joseph Bouet’s images of judges, lawyers and felons at Durham Criminal Court (c.1825-1856) (28 October 2021)

Combination and Confederacy’: Radical Protest and Chartism on Tyneside, 1819–1839. Neil Harrison 23 March 2021. In this reading group/seminar we examined Newcastle’s response to the 1819 Peterloo massacre and Chartism on Tyneside in the 1830s. 

Held jointly with the University of Lodz – English Law and Colonial Connections: Histories, Parallels, and Influences (26–27 January 2021) 

Frankenstein: A Multidisciplinary Conference (14 June 2018, Northumbria University)

A Civilising Moment? Reflecting on 150 years since the abolition of Public Execution (6 June 2018, Literary and Philosophical Society Newcastle upon Tyne)  

Recent Publications

Latchem, J. & Rutherford, H. 'Courting Power: discussion and analysis of a courtroom-based art installation informed by a legal historical case study' 4 Oct 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Law and Humanities

Helen Rutherford and Clare Sandford- Couch ‘George Vass: the making and un-making of a criminal monster’., Low, Patrick Rutherford, Helen Sandford- Couch, Clare (editors). Execution Culture in Nineteenth Century Britain: From Public Spectacle to Hidden Ritual. Routledge 2021

Cerian Griffiths ‘The honest cheat: a timely history of cheating and fraud following Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67’ Legal Studies 2020, Volume 40, Issue 2 

Marion Oswald ‘Technologies in the twilight zone: early lie detectors, machine learning and reformist legal realism’ International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 2020, Volume 34

Helen Rutherford and Clare Sandford- Couch 'All that they had heard, all that they had read, all that they had seen’: Questions of Fairness and Justice in the Trial of George Vass’, in Nash D and Kilday AM. Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles. Bloomsbury Academic 2020  

James Gray ‘J G Ballard and the phenomenology of the absence of law’ Law and Humanities 2019

Helen Rutherford ‘Unity or disunity? The trials of a Jury in R v John William Anderson: Newcastle Winter Assizes 1875’. and Gregory, James and Grey, Daniel J.R. (editors). Union and Disunion in the Nineteenth Century. Routledge Studies in Modern History 2019 

Helen Rutherford Book review of Subversive Legal History. A Manifesto for the Future of Legal Education by Russell Sandberg, The Law Teacher (In press)

Helen Rutherford, Book review of Law, Judges and Visual Culture by Leslie J Moran (Routledge, 2020)Legal Studies. (In Press)

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