Extra-Legal and Legal Conflict Management (Cordes and Höhn)Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz
Competing legal orders without clear hierarchies and different overlapping institutions in every city and state: merchants of pre-modern long-distance trade in middle and western Europe must have been anxious to overcome this state of ‘legal fragmentation’ in order to solve their conflicts quickly and orderly. Or were they?
Time for more #RetroConflictsInspirations! In their contribution to the Oxford Handbook of European Legal History, Albrecht Cordes and Philipp Höhn argue that the negative connotation associated with medieval legal pluralism are ‘ex post description influenced by paradigms of modernity.’ Instead, medieval merchants were happy to use all options available to manage their conflicts. And the coalescing spaces of legal and extra-legal conflict management provided them with a multitude of such choices and tactics - from courts and arbitration to the threat of feuds - to enforce their interests, to sustain communication in conflicts, and to contain escalation.
For #retro_conflicts, there is much to take away from this article but its focus on actors and choices, not on institutions, stands out. To not presume that conditions differing from the ideal-type of the modern state were perceived as negative and as something to overcome allows to consider the interests of individual merchants and their strategies to pursue them.
Extra-Legal and Legal Conflict Management among Long-Distance Traders (1250–1650)
Albrecht Cordes and Philipp Höhn
The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History
Edited by Heikki Pihlajamäki, Markus D. Dubber, and Mark Godfrey