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How to Ensure Predictability in Legal Pluralism. Northern Europe in the Later Middle Ages

Aug. 31, 2022

Convention by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Münster „Einheit und Vielfalt im Recht“ 

Place: JurGrad, Königsstr. 51-53 , Münster, Germany
Time: 5 - 6  October 2022

In spheres of legal pluralism, there are always overlapping normative framings to be negotiated in order to fulfil expectations. So, how do people decide according to which framing they should act? How do actors provide for predictability? How do people cope with non-compliance?

Economic historians of the later Middle Ages have stressed the impact of honour and trust as basic mechanisms of producing predictability between merchants. Simultaneously, merchants needed stable political preconditions, as provided for by the mutual privileges their authorities agreed upon. On this political level as well as in everyday life, the threat and – if needed – use of force were eminent options. Hence, violence was not socially disruptive, but functional, as long as a relative equality of military means and the overwhelming consensus of economic exchange enclosed it. Within repetitive communication framed by these factors, norms emerged, which were used to produce and reproduce predictability. However, these norms always remained subject to continual re-negotiation.

All this the actors did not do in order to overcome legal pluralism, but in order to improve their own position and/or the position of their respective group in heterogenous legal spaces. These spaces thus remained pluralistic, because any harmonization necessarily failed, due to the diverging interests of the actors involved. The workshop aims at discussing these questions referring to late medieval Northern and Central Europe as an example.

Organisation: PD Dr. Gregor Rohmann (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Registration: https://wwuindico.uni-muenster.de/event/1506/.
More Information: https://www.uni-muenster.de/EViR/veranstaltungen/tagungenundworkshops/predictability.html.


Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Peter Oestmann (Münster): Welcome
Gregor Rohmann (Frankfurt): Introduction

Session 1: Merchants and Markets in Central Europe
Chair: Leslie Carr-Riegel (Budapest/Münster)

Katalin Szende (Budapest): Trust and Distrust in the Legal Framework of Urban Life in Late Medieval Hungary

Olga Kozubska (Lviv/Münster): Trading Privileges and Legal Pluralism in Ukrainian Towns

16.00–16.30h Coffee break

Session 2: Scandinavia and the North
Chair: Vera Teske (Münster)

Tobias Boestad (La Rochelle): German Law or Law of the Germans? Some Notes about the Early Hanse Merchants and their Attitude towards Legal „Harmonization“ in Northern Europe

Louis Sicking (Amsterdam/Leiden): A Microcosm of the Hanse? Legal Pluralism at Scania, 1350–1550

Edda Frankot (Bodø): Administering Justice to Foreigners: International Merchants and Mariners before the Late Medieval Aberdeen Courts

19.30h Dinner

Thursday, 06 October 2022

Session 3: Hanse Towns and Hanse Merchants
Chair: Sophia Mösch (Münster)

Ulla Kypta (Hamburg): Bridging Social Capital: Predictability as the Basis of Cooperation between Late Medieval Merchants

Philipp Höhn (Halle): Legal Commonalities in Legal Pluralism. Communicating Conflict and Cohesion in Hanse Towns

10.30–11.00h Coffee break

Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz (Amsterdam): The Trouble with Legal Pluralism: a Danzig Case

Session 4: The Hanse in the West
Chair: Quentin Verreycken (Louvain)

Bart Lambert/Juuriaan Wink (Brussels): Legal Pluralism and the Hanseatic Zuiderzee Towns: Conflict Management in a Multilayered Legal Landscape between North and Baltic Seas

12.30–14.00h Lunch break

Indravati Félicité (La Réunion): Considerations of Legal Unity and Pluralism in Early Modern Hanse Diplomacy

Peter Oestmann (Münster): Commentary

15.00–15.30h Final discussion

Source: How to Ensure Predictability in Legal Pluralism. Northern Europe in the Later Middle Ages. In: H-Soz-Kult, 28.08.2022, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-129323>.