A report from the 'Litigating Women: Negotiating Justice in Courts of Law, c.1100 - c.1750' Symposium

Find out more as researchers explored women's access to justice in medieval and early modern times.

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Deborah Youngs project imageA symposium on 'Litigating Women: Negotiating Justice in Courts of Law, c.1100 - c.1750' was held at Swansea University from 28-29 June 2017.

The 'Litigating Women' symposium was part of the AHRC-funded collaborative project 'Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland, c. 1100-c.1750', and in conjunction with Swansea University's 11th annual 'Symposium by the Sea', the two-day event explored women's access to justice and use of the lawcourts in Britain and Continental Europe in the medieval and early modern periods.

Echoing the overall aims of the project, this was a truly international and comparative event, with papers and discussions spanning over six centuries, nine countries, and at least 13 different legal jurisdictions. This was reflected in the broad range of speakers and delegates, coming from 10 countries and 29 institutions, and from backgrounds in history, English, law, and archives. The value of this wide-ranging programme was evident in the many comparisons and contrasts that were made across the two days. While each paper offered rich insights into the detailed research on 'litigating women' within numerous contexts, the discussion generated during each session also raised important linking themes and questions. These issues, at the heart of the project, bridge divisions of chronology, geography, and jurisdiction, considering how and why women engaged with the legal process, and how historians read and interpret women's litigation in legal records.

A full report on the symposium, entitled 'Litigating women: challenges, comparisons, and continuing conversations' is available to view on the Project website:


Litigating Women symposium delegates 2017
Symposium Delegates