New Robbins Website

Please note: this website will no longer be updated.

All information about Robbins events, publications, holdings, etc., will now be available here:


New Volume now available

Renowned legal historian, Charles Donahue, serves as the inspiration for this volume of essays covering a range of topics of interest to legal historians, legal scholars, and others. Inspired by Donahue's insights into the value of understanding both text and context, this volume brings together 26 contributions from leading historians in Europe and North America.

For additional information, contact us at:


Robbins Collection Lecture

The Robbins Collection is pleased to announce that Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, will speak on "Jewish Thought in America Today."

Chancellor Eisen is one of the world's foremost authorities on American Judaism. He has written several books and articles on a range of topics, including Jewish community and scholarship.

Chancellor Eisen's lecture is sponsored by the Robbins Collection and the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.

The reception and talk will take place at the Bancroft Hotel (2680 Bancroft Way). Both events on October 27th are open to members of the public:

5:15 PM public reception
6:00 PM public lecture

Please RSVP here:

RSVP Eisen talk


I-School Final Project involving Robbins Collection manuscripts

Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) student, Jordan Shedlock, has been working on using digital technologies to "improve access to and create excitement around" medieval manuscripts held by the Robbins Collection.

Shedlock's goal is to create a web interface that will serve as an online destination for the Robbins Collection and allow users to explore its manuscripts.

He will display his final project on May 12 at 4:00 pm in 202 South Hall.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the reception and the project presentation, which will follow at 5:00 pm.

More information is available here:

Manuscript Metadata Magic


New research resources

The Robbins Collection will introduce, and continue to add to, a new set of resources for researchers and scholars on our website.

These "Resources for Research" will include entries from legal dictionaries and indices, digitized images of Robbins documents and manuscripts, and introductory materials on different legal history topics.

To see the resources that are currently available, click here:

Resources for Research


Fall 2015 Course on Civil Law

Professor Lee will make use of Robbins Collection resources in his Fall 2015 class on the Civil Law. Among the topics to be covered: major substantive areas of Classical Roman law, the reception of Roman law in medieval and early modern Europe, and the ideological orientation of the Civil Law tradition in political thought.

For more information, click here:


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Public Lecture

The Robbins Collection and the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies were pleased to welcome Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, to Berkeley on April 12, 2016.

At her public lecture, "Jewish Scholars and the Study of Islam: Reflections on Modern Jewish Identity," Professor Heschel discussed how the culture of imperialism in nineteenth-century Europe shaped the writing of Jewish history.

Professor Heschel's scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship, and the history of anti-Semitism.


Robbins Collection Fall 2015 Newsletter

Receive our bi-annual newsletter with information on Robbins affiliates, publications, and events by providing your email address here:

subscribe to our mailing list


Festschrift for Professor R. H. Helmholz

The Robbins Collection is pleased to announce the publication of Studies in Canon Law and Common Law in Honor of R. H. Helmholz, edited by Troy L. Harris.


Festschrift in honor of Professor Mel Eisenberg

The Robbins Collection will be participating in Berkeley School of Law's October 17, 2015 symposium and reception to honor Professor Eisenberg.

Speakers will discuss topics in the areas of civil law, corporate law, legal theory, and contract law.

For more information, or to RSVP, click here:


Access to Robbins Collection

As of May 2015, the main access route to Robbins will be closed due to construction in Boalt Hall.

However, the Robbins Reading Room will remain accessible to the public throughout construction.

To access the Robbins Reading Room, please follow the signs along the 239-240 hallway or the 255-265 hallway.

For assistance, please contact a Robbins staff member.


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Public Talk: Jews and Judaism in France

Click on the link below to watch Rabbi Dahan's lecture on YouTube:


Jews and Judaism in France Today

On April 13, 2015, Grand Rabbin d'Aix en Provence, Daniel Dahan, spoke about the current status of Jews and Judaism in France.

The lecture was sponsored by the Robbins Collection and the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.

Rabbi Dahan is the author of "Agounot: Les Femmes Entravées."


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The Lloyd McCullough Robbins Award

About the Robbins Collection

Lloyd Robbins was a San Francisco attorney, a Solano County rancher, and the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of Hawaii. Robbins had a deep interest in the civil law tradition as it related to California law. As a practicing attorney, Robbins greatly supplemented his understanding of the law by studying scholarly and historical materials. To foster ongoing learning and scholarship at Berkeley in the areas of comparative law and legal history, Robbins donated rare law books to establish the Robbins Collection in 1952.

About the Robbins Award

The Robbins Award was established to support nascent attorneys and legal scholars at the earliest stage of their careers. With this award, the Robbins Collection aims to encourage Berkeley Law students to conduct research on comparative law and legal history, and it seeks to promote scholarly writing by Berkeley Law students who have few opportunities to otherwise pursue such projects.

To enter the competition, students must submit an unpublished research paper on a comparative law or legal history topic of their choice. In addition to whatever other sources they would like to use, students are encouraged to use Robbins Collection foreign, comparative, and historical materials to conduct their research. Authors of the three top papers will receive awards of, each, $2,000 (first prize), $1,500 (second prize), and $1,000 (third prize).

Additional Requirements

Students must submit their research papers via email to on or before 5:00 p.m. on January 31, 2015.

Students enrolled as 2Ls or 3Ls at Berkeley School of Law in the J.D. program as of January 2015 are eligible to submit papers for the competition.

Papers should address a comparative law or legal history topic. Students can also submit papers that combine both comparative law and legal history elements, and students are strongly encouraged to consider cases outside of the United States.

The total length of the paper, not including either footnotes or endnotes and bibliography, must be between 3,000 and 4,000 words. Blue Book formatting is not required. Pages must be numbered. Hard copies of papers will not be accepted. Papers submitted for the competition must include a cover page with 1) the student’s first and last name, 2) the paper’s title, 3) the student’s email address, 4) the student’s expected year of graduation, 5) total word count of the paper (not including bibliography and endnotes or footnotes).

After the Committee announces the top three Robbins Award papers on March 15, 2015, the winner of the first prize will be eligible for an additional $2,000 award from the Robbins Collection. To receive the supplemental award, the first prize winner must transform his or her Robbins Collection paper into an article that is ready for publication in a scholarly journal.


Can I use this paper to receive Writing Requirement or Independent Study credit?
No. However, you can submit a version of your completed Writing Requirement paper or your Independent Study paper for this competition, as long as the paper meets the requirements set out in this announcement.

Who will select the winning papers?
The Committee will include Berkeley Law faculty members and affiliated comparative law and legal history scholars.

What format should I use for my endnotes or footnotes?
You may use whatever format you prefer as long as your notes are complete and consistent, and you may use either endnotes or footnotes.

How do I submit my paper?
Email your paper as an attachment to on or before 5:00 p.m. January 31, 2015.

Can I submit a hard copy of my paper?

Can I submit a paper if I am not a Berkeley Law 2L or 3L J.D. student?

Can I submit a version of a paper that I’ve already written or that I have worked on for another class (such as a term paper, my Berkeley Law Writing Requirement, etc.)?

Can I submit a paper that I’ve co-authored with another student, a faculty member, or someone else?
No. The student submitting the paper must be the sole author of the paper.

Can I submit a paper that has been published or accepted for publication (in an edited volume, a journal, online, or elsewhere)?
No. All submissions must be unpublished works.

What criteria will the Committee use to judge the papers?
Committee members will take several factors into account, including: 1) use of Robbins Collection materials and/or Berkeley Law Library foreign, comparative, and international materials, 2) the originality and significance of the research topic, 3) the degree to which the paper is well-written and well-researched, 4) whether or not the student has met all of the paper requirements described in this announcement.

If I have additional questions about the competition, is there someone I can contact?
You can contact Andrea Quinn, Assistant Director of the Robbins Collection, at


Lecture on the Transition from Fascism to Democracy in Italy

Abstract: Transitioning to Democracy

During W.W.II., the fascist Italian Social Republic (R.S.I.) governed a large part of Northern Italy for nearly two years. In 1944, near the end of the War, the Italian Lieutenant Government issued Decree 249/1944, which was to serve as a legal “strainer,” through which judicial, administrative, and legislative activities of the defunct R.S.I. were to be sifted. Dr. Di Stefano analyzed judgments issued by lower Courts and the Court of Cassation, and she argued that despite substantial pressure to make a clean break with Italy's past, courts applied Decree 249/1944 in a manner that ensured that Italian citizens, who had been governed by the R.S.I., were guaranteed a measure of continuity and certainty.


Sixth Annual Robbins Collection Lecture

Sixth Annual Robbins Collection Lecture on Jewish Law and Thought

In conjunction with the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, the Robbins Collection welcomed Moshe Halbertal, Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, to Berkeley School of Law. Moshe Halbertal's presentation, entitled "Maimonides on Mourning: Jewish Law and Emotion," took place at the Bancroft Hotel on November 6th, 2014. Dr. Tricia Hellman Gibbs conducted the post-lecture discussion.


Visiting Researcher Workshops

Each year, Berkeley School of Law invites Visiting Researchers from several different countries, ranging from China to Brazil, to engage in independent legal research projects under the supervision of Berkeley Law faculty members. To create a forum for these Researchers in which they can present and discuss their projects, the Robbins Collection will be hosting a series of Comparative Law Workshops throughout the 2014-2015 academic year. Workshop topics will include intellectual property, corruption, administrative law, and environmental law.


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Lloyd M. Robbins Exhibit

The Robbins Collection is pleased to present a new exhibit about Lloyd M. Robbins, founder of the Robbins Collection. Included in the exhibit are books, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a variety of other items from Mr. Robbins' personal collection. The exhibit provides insight into Mr. Robbins' work as an attorney, his travels, his participation in world affairs, his philanthropy, and his interest in the civil law tradition as it pertained to California law.


New Publication

Available August 2014: Current Issues in Korean Law, edited by Laurent Mayali and John Yoo ISBN 978-1-882239-22-1


Abstracts from papers presented at “Implementing Religious Law in Contemporary Nation-States: Definitions and Challenges,” a workshop organized by Robbins Collection Director, Laurent Mayali and Robbins Postdoctoral Fellow, Lena Salaymeh.

Patricia J. Woods, University of Florida

New Constituencies, Independent Judiciaries? Debates over State-Sanctioned Religious Law in Israel

Woods uses models of state-society relations developed by Migdal and others as a starting point for her analysis of the Israeli women’s movement. Even though the 20th century state sought to control a vast spectrum of personal and public institutions and behavior, Migdal’s model portrays the state as neither unitary nor all-powerful. In her paper, Woods focuses on the women’s movement as an actor that advocated for change in a setting where religious authorities were entrenched in state law and practice. Woods claims that several factors – structural constraints, individual action, cross-national models for effecting political change, new activism of the Israeli High Court in some areas of individual rights, and the ideological appeal of the court as a source and protector of higher ideals independent of political trends (i.e., natural law and individual rights law) – help explain why the Israeli women’s movement turned to litigation in the High Court during the early and mid-1980s. Woods also shows that a symbiotic relationship, which furthered the goals of both parties, developed between the women’s movement and the High Court.

Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto

Is there such a thing as an Islamic positive law?

Fadel asserts that a conventional understanding of the relationship between Islamic law and the state, which portrays the state solely as an instrument for coercive enforcement of pre-existing rules supplied by jurists dutifully interpreting revelation in isolation from political institutions, is restrictive and limiting. He notes that Islamic law scholarship has typically dismissed statutory laws produced in pre-modern Islamic legal history as little more than deviations from the requirements of normative Islamic law and as concessions to the practical needs of government, something Fadel argues has further enforced the perceived distinction between law making and law enforcement. Fadel claims, by contrast, that the state is far more than a mere enforcer of rules within the framework of Islamic law and he asserts that the state is, in fact, authorized to engage in rule-making to provide for the public good of the Muslim community. Fadel demonstrates that statutory law, far from being a pragmatic and insignificant concession, is an integral part of orthodox Islamic law.

Patrick McKinley Brennan, Villanova University

Implementing Religious Law in Contemporary Nation-States: The Catholic-Christian Framework

Brennan proposes that the Catholic tradition of reflection on human lawmaking takes as its starting point the God who rules His rational creatures through higher or eternal law, where the rational creature’s participation in that higher law is what is known as the natural law. Using the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas as a foundation, Brennan argues that the divinely ordained remedy for the breakdown of the natural law is divine positive law, both of the Old Testament and the New Testament, as interpreted by the Church. Brennan further claims that in the United States, this remedy is denied or severely circumscribed by modern political theory, usually under the rubric of “separation of church and state.” Brennan provides several examples of the limitations imposed on lawmakers as the result of this separation.

Michael Karayanni, Hebrew University

Separate and different: the jurisdiction of Palestinian religious communities in Israel

Karayanni posits that the issue of “religion and the state” is addressed as a purely intra-Jewish matter in Israel and excludes the Palestinian minority, which itself represents more than three different religious communities: Muslims, Christians and Druze. Karayanni argues that this exclusion is a consequence of two paradigms that control the status and nature of the jurisdiction accorded Jewish religious institutions in Israel. The first paradigm, which defines Jewish religious institutions as part of Israel’s public sphere, views Judaism as an established state religion because Israel is defined as a Jewish nation-state. The second paradigm regards such jurisdictional authority as coercive and illiberal in light of Israel’s efforts to define itself as a democratic state. Karayanni argues that the two paradigms exclude Palestinian religious communities, relegating minority matters to Israel’s “private” sphere (a private matter of the minority) and granting accommodation to Israel’s non-Jewish minority in a way that happens to be liberal and even multicultural in nature. Karayanni proposes that this approach to religion and state (the “paradigm of separateness”) has a number of practical implications with respect to the level of recognition of, and the funds accorded to, particular religious institutions and the impact of judicial review of religious court decisions.

Muʿtaz al-Khaṭīb, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies

Muslim jurists in modern nation-states: Islamist rhetoric and political reality

Al-Khaṭīb contends that it is widely assumed that the Islamic state is responsible for implementing Islamic law. As al-Khaṭīb points out, however, this assumption raises two questions: what constitutes “implementation,” and what is “Islamic law”? The first of these questions has practical significance because the application of Islamic law may be limited to particular areas of law (such as family law or criminal law) or it may shape all aspects of governance. The second question is particularly difficult to answer because Islamic law may refer to doctrines, processes, jurists, institutions, or some combination thereof. With these issues in mind, al-Khaṭīb notes that Muslim jurists play a particularly important role as agents who implement Islamic law, and he examines several cases to determine if Muslim jurists can function as independent advocates for the (Islamic) rule-of-law. In particular, al-Khaṭīb focuses on the role of Muslim jurists in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain to demonstrate that Muslim jurists either act on behalf of the administrative state as regime supporters or in opposition to it, as revolutionaries.

Kurt M. Denk, Kramer Levin, LLP

Faith in a Culture Separating Church and State: Living Gospel Law in the Contemporary U.S.

Denk notes that Christians in the United States face contradictory demands because they live by the Gospel in a nation characterized by a Constitution that simultaneously separates church and state while also protecting religious free exercise and expression. Denk argues that U.S. Christians face a perennial challenge as they attempt to live a vibrant faith amidst a pluralistic culture, navigating an ecclesial obligation to live the Gospel in the world and a civic orientation that both celebrates, and is suspicious of, overt religiosity. Denk focuses specifically on recent debates about, and litigation over, the religious ramifications of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate and same-sex marriage to illustrate this tension, highlighting how Christian citizens grapple with the nature of their obligations to both neighbor and nation. Denk relies on the Catholic legal tradition, which encompasses both a body of substantive law and a tradition of social thought that distinguishes between the secular and the religious spheres, to ground his analysis.


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On February 21, 2014, the Robbins Collection hosted a one-day workshop at Berkeley School of Law titled "Implementing Religious Law in Contemporary Nation-States: Definitions and Challenges." Berkeley School of Law's Acting Dean, Gillian Lester, welcomed the group, which included practicing attorneys and scholars with expertise in Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic legal traditions.

The workshop, which was organized and moderated by Robbins Collection Director Laurent Mayali and Robbins Postdoctoral Fellow, Lena Salaymeh, provided a forum for international legal experts and scholars to present their papers and debate a variety of important topics at the intersection of law and religion. Scholars from the University of Florida, University of Toronto, Villanova University, Indiana University, University of London (Birkbeck), Kramer Levin LLP, Hebrew University, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Utah, and Saint Joseph University (Beirut) offered competing viewpoints on the role of the state in implementing “religious laws,” and they discussed case studies from Israel, the Arab world, and the United States.


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Legal Commentaries Exhibit

On January 30, 2014, the Robbins Collection unveiled a new, three-day exhibit showcasing legal commentaries on, each, Canon law, Jewish law, and Islamic law.

Among the eye-catching and significant works displayed from the Robbins Collection of rare books were Clementinae constitutions, Kitāb al-wiqāyah, and Talmud Bavli.


New Publication

Now available: Collected Works of David Daube Volume Five: Daube On Roman Law, edited by Calum Carmichael and Laurent Mayali. ISBN 978-1-882239-21-4


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Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law and Thought

The 2013-2014 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law and Thought, co-sponsored with Berkeley Law's Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy, and Society, took place on November 12, 2013. Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, presented "What We Can Learn from the Jewish Political Tradition" in Boalt Hall's Booth Auditorium.


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Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law and Thought

The 2012-2013 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law and Thought, co-sponsored with Berkeley Law's Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy, and Society, took place on Monday, November 26, 2012. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks presented "The Future of Judaism" in Boalt Hall's Booth Auditorium.


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Digital Exhibition: California’s Legal Heritage

California’s Legal Heritage

2012 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Robbins Collection and the hundredth anniversary of Berkeley Law. In honor of these milestones we launched a digital exhibition entitled California’s Legal Heritage. The exhibition traces the origins of California law to the civil law tradition Spain brought to the Americas, and the impact of this tradition from the sixteenth century to the present day. Featured works from the Robbins Collection highlight key moments in the history of California as a territory under the civil law jurisdiction of Spain and Mexico and a US state governed by common law.

The Robbins Collection, UC Berkeley School of Law


Legal Heterodoxy in Islamic and Jewish History: Late Antique and Medieval Transformations

Co-sponsored by the Robbins Collection, this two-day symposium explored the shared relationship of Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, focusing on the late antique and medieval periods (approximately 300 - 1300 CE) in the Near East.


2012 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law

The third annual Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law, co-sponsored with Berkeley Law's Program on Jewish Law, took place on Monday, April 16 2012. Professor Barry Wimpfheimer of Northwestern University presented "Narrating the Law: How Stories Create Complex Law in the Talmud" in Boalt Hall's Goldberg Room.


New workshop for teachers on California's legal heritage

The Robbins Collection hosted a new workshop on California' legal heritage for K-12 and community college teachers and librarians. If you are a K-12 or community college educator in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to learn more about the educational opportunities we sponsor, please email us:


Educators attend workshop at the Robbins Collection

On March 12, 2011, K-12 and community college educators from across the Bay Area came to Boalt to attend a hands-on workshop event on the history of common law and civil law. The Robbins Collection at Berkeley Law created and organized the workshop, which was cosponsored by the Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS) at UC Berkeley.

Led by Robbins Collection Deputy Director Julianne Gilland, the workshop explored the historical development of common and civil law traditions and their legacies in the modern legal systems of the United States and other nations throughout the world. Designed in conjunction with the Robbins Collection’s latest web-based educational unit, the event gave local educators the opportunity to examine and discuss primary sources from the rare-book holdings of the Robbins, including medieval civil law manuscripts, and early printed books, original editions of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England and France’s Code Napoléon, and early American and Californian legal works.

Participants represented an interdisciplinary mix of history, government, and literature teachers, and the meeting and discussion focused on the broad-ranging importance of law in shaping the history of modern society and culture. The workshop was part of an ongoing series of outreach events and educational resources created by the Robbins Collection in support of the mission it shares with Berkeley Law and the University of California to promote equity, access, and excellence in California education and to serve an increasingly diverse population of students at all academic levels.

"Creating Modern Law: The Development of the Common Law and Civil Law Tradition," the web-based educational unit, can be found on our website and is also available as a printable pdf featuring primary source material.


Islamic Law and Society Spring 2011 Lecture Series

The Robbins Collection presented three lectures as part of its annual Islamic Law and Society lecture series. Topics included the representation of Muslims emerging from the Park 51 / "Ground Zero mosque" controversy, personal status law in Egypt's Coptic Christian community, and constitutionalism and democratic governance in Islamic jurisprudence in Iran. This lecture series was co-sponsored with the Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern & Islamic Law (JMEIL).

Please see the event poster (pdf file) for more information.


2011 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law

The Robbins Collection, in affiliation with the Berkeley Program on Jewish Law and the Kadish Center for Morality, Law, and Public Affairs, presented the 2011 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law, "Law in the Nation/Law as the Nation: The Ongoing Jewish Discussion" by Professor Suzanne Last Stone, University Professor of Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University, on Monday, February 14, 2011.

Please see the event poster for more information.


New publication

Japanese Family Law in Comparative Perspective, edited by Harry N. Scheiber and Laurent Mayali. ISBN 978-1-882239-19-1 Order here.


Exhibit: The Medieval Law School

To commence the Fall 2009 semester, the Robbins Collection presented a temporary exhibit of rare books and manuscripts that traced the development of the medieval civil and canon law traditions and the rise of legal studies and law faculties in the earliest European universities. The Medieval Law School examined the eleventh-century revival of Roman law that began in Bologna and sparked a new interest in the study of civil and canon law that quickly spread throughout Europe. Works on display highlighted milestones in the evolution of both disciplines and brought into focus practical and technical aspects of medieval law study, including the production of manuscripts and their accessibility to students.


New publication

David Daube, Ethics and Other Writings, Collected Works of David Daube, Edited by Calum Carmichael, Volume 4. ISBN 978-1-882239-15-3. Order here.


The Roman-Dutch Legal Tradition

The Robbins Collection at Berkeley Law presented an exhibition of rare books on the Roman-Dutch legal tradition, including selections from the recent gift of books from Mrs. Elizabeth J. S. Scholtens Dalhuisen in honor of her father, Professor J. E. Scholtens. The development of the Roman-Dutch legal tradition was an important stepping stone in the early modern evolution of Western civil law systems from medieval Roman law scholarship. Influenced by French Humanism and the post-Reformation political and cultural transformation of Europe, Roman-Dutch law became foundational not only to modern legal practice in the Netherlands and its neighbors but, through Dutch colonial influence, to other continents as well. The exhibit highlighted fundamental works in Roman law, Dutch customary law and works from the great age of Dutch jurists such as Grotius, Voet, and Van Leeuwen, as well as volumes that highlighted the diffusion of the Roman-Dutch tradition to South Africa and Sri Lanka during the colonial period and after.

See the poster here.


Yan Thomas

The Robbins Collection was saddened to learn of the death of our longtime collaborator and former Robbins Fellow, Professor Yan Thomas, in Paris on September 11, 2008. Professor Thomas was Director of the Centre d’Études de Normes Juridiques at the Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris for many years and a prolific legal scholar, an expert in Roman law and legal theory whose publications spanned more than three decades. His passing is a great loss to the legal science community, and he will be missed.


Dalhuisen gift to the Robbins Collection

The Robbins Collection at the School of Law received a generous donation of rare books from a distinguished legal scholar to add to its permanent collection. The gift comprises nearly 80 volumes, most of them dating from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, from the collection of Professor J. E. Scholtens (1902-1991) and donated by his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth J. S. Scholtens Dalhuisen. Mrs. Dalhuisen shares a long connection to the School of Law with her husband, Professor Jan Dalhuisen, an expert in International Commercial, Financial, Insolvency and Arbitration Law who received an LL.M. degree from Boalt in 1967 and has returned frequently as a Visiting Professor.

Professor Scholtens earned a doctorate in law in Amsterdam and taught Roman-Dutch law at Utrecht from 1946-1949. In 1949 he accepted the chair in Roman-Dutch law at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he taught until 1972. Centering on the subject of Professor Scholtens's life work, the volumes donated to the Robbins Collection in his honor are a wonderful complement to the Collection's existing holdings in Roman-Dutch jurisprudence.

The development of the Roman-Dutch legal tradition was an important stepping stone in the early modern evolution of Western civil law systems from medieval Roman law scholarship. Influenced by French Humanism and the post-Reformation political and cultural transformation of Europe, Roman-Dutch law became foundational not only to modern legal practice in the Netherlands and its neighbors but, through Dutch colonial influence, to South Africa as well.


Water Rights and Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa

Roundtable Meeting
Sponsored by the Robbins Collection and the Institute for Global Challenges and the Law
UC Berkeley School of Law

On March 13, 2008, the Robbins Collection and the Institute for Global Challenges and the Law welcomed experts from Senegal and France to a roundtable meeting on water rights and governance in sub-Saharan Africa. After opening remarks from Dean Edley and Professor and Robbins Collection Director Laurent Mayali, Professors Mamadou Badji, Moustapha Ngaidé, and Samba Thiam from Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, and Professor Bernard Durand from Université Montpellier I, Montpellier, offered perspectives on legal tradition and current models of water rights in Senegal, with Boalt student Hana Ivanhoe presenting additional analysis of international norms. Roundtable discussion followed, with Boalt professors Joseph Sax, Howard Shelanski, Rick Frank and Cymie Payne of the California Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and Dan McGrath, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, contributing to a broader examination of current challenges in global water rights governance. This first encounter paves the way for future research and collaboration on legal and policy issues in sub-Saharan Africa as part of Boalt's ongoing efforts to examine global issues in comparative and interdisciplinary contexts.


New publication

Iuris Historia: Liber Amicorum Gero Dolezalek, edited by Vincenzo Colli and Emanuele Conte, published January 2008. ISBN 978-1-882239-18-4. Order here.


Martin Guerre working group

January 2005: The Robbins Collection co-sponsored a working group for K–12 teachers with UC's Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS), the Bay Area Global Education Program (BAGEP) at the World Affairs Council of Northern California. This year's ORIAS working group series was entitled Constructing Identities: Comparative Short Fiction From the Arab World, East Asia and Western Europe, and as part of this series, Julianne Gilland (Robbins Collection) and Michele Delattre (ORIAS) organized a one-day workshop at Boalt Hall in January. The workshop focused on the Martin Guerre trial, a 16th-century case of identity theft in France that has inspired plays, fiction, films and legal commentaries for over 500 years. In a special session at the Robbins Collection, Bay Area K-12 teachers participated in a one-day meeting to discuss the case and the issues of law, identity, and community that it brought together, using Natalie Zemon Davis's historical reconstruction, The Return of Martin Guerre. During the session, the group also had an opportunity to see an original edition of Judge Jean de Coras's legal commentary on the trial and examine other relevant 17th-century legal texts from the Robbins Collection's holdings. The event was a great opportunity for the teachers to get some hands-on experience with using archival documents in a classroom setting and to think in new ways about how we and our students consider the role of law in our society.


Exhibit of Milestone Texts from the Robbins Collection and Law Library

From August 16 through September 30, 2007, the Robbins Collection and the Law Library presented an exhibit of milestone legal texts at Boalt Hall. Milestones in Legal Culture and Traditions featured a selection of landmark works in civil law, common law, international and comparative law, religious law, and world legal cultures. Highlighted works ranged from manuscript and early printed texts to new groundbreaking material and gave a glimpse of the depth and diversity of resources that our two collections have to offer.

For a look at some of the featured works on display, click here.


New Roman Law Web Module for Teachers and Students

A new teaching module on Roman Law developed by the Robbins Collection is now up on our website and available as an educational resource for teachers and students. This is the first in a planned series of modules on diverse areas of law and legal history, developed with K-12 secondary teachers and students in mind but accessible to anyone in search of introductory material on law and legal traditions. Available both online and as a downloadable PDF, the unit offers an introduction to the history and concepts of Roman law as well as a glossary, selected bibliography, and examples of primary source material from our collection.

Take a look at the Roman Law unit here. Future modules forthcoming. For more information, contact us at


New publication

Emerging Concepts of Rights in Japanese Law, edited by Harry N. Scheiber and Laurent Mayali, published July 2007. ISBN 978-1-882239-17-7. order here.


Forthcoming publication

Collected Works of David Daube, vol. 4: Ethics and Other Writings
ISBN 978-1-882239-15-3
Forthcoming 2009.


International Roman law scholars convene at the Robbins Collection to initiate Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani project

In July 2006, a group of international specialists in Roman law and Greek and Latin philology met at the Robbins Collection to begin a new critical edition of Roman legal texts based on the fundamental work of renowned Roman law scholar Otto Lenel. Lenel's Palingenesia laid the groundwork for generations of modern scholars, serving as a fundamental text not only for Roman law studies but also for the history of legal thought in civil law countries.

The newly initiated Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani project is organized by the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane in collaboration with more than a dozen European universities in Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Led by Aldo Schiavone, Professor of Law and Director of the institute in Florence, the IISU's editorial team for the Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani project includes Roman law specialists from universities in Florence, Rome, Pavia, Trent, Parma, Lecce, Bologna, Siena, Cagliari, Naples, Cassino, Heidelberg, and Paris, all of whom convened in Berkeley to participate in a weeklong meeting organized by Professor Schiavone and Boalt professor and Robbins Collection director Laurent Mayali.

The aim of the IISU project is to produce a series of volumes to be published during the next decade. Each volume will focus on one or more of the Roman jurists and include an introduction to his career and work, a reconstitution of the existing fragments of his writings, and a modern Italian translation of these passages from Latin, annotated for the reader.

The Robbins Collection, with a rare and modern Roman law collection that ranks as one of the best in the world, was a venue uniquely suited to host the beginnings of this ambitious and groundbreaking project. The opportunity to collaborate with the prestigious team of legal scholars on the Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani is an example of the dynamism of the School of Law in the international legal community and further testament to the ongoing global impact of the scholarship that takes place at Boalt Hall and the Robbins Collection. This unique scholarly gathering also honored the intellectual legacy of Professor David Daube, one of Boalt Hall's greatest teachers, who, as a young student in Freiburg, began his studies of Roman law with Otto Lenel.

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New publication Fall 2005

Bartolomé Clavero, Freedom's Law and Indigenous Rights: From Europe's Oeconomy to the Constitutionalism of the Americas.


Latin American Supreme Court Justices visit Robbins Collection

In 2005 the Robbins Collection hosted a lecture series that brought several distinguished Latin American jurists to Boalt: Peruvian Supreme Court Justice Delia Revoredo, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Joaquim Barbosa Gomes, Mexican Supreme Court Justice José Ramón Cossío Díaz, and Professor Carlos Rosenkrantz, former advisor to Argentine President Raúl Alfonsín.