Chaucer and the Law

Friday 30th June - Saturday 1st July 2017, Senate House

Keynote addresses by Professor Sebastian Sobecki (University of Groningen) and Professor Emily Steiner (University of Pennsylvania).

This two-day conference aims to consider ideas about the law in the age of Chaucer and in relation to the works of Chaucer and his contemporaries, probing questions about legal practices and culture, justice, regulation and instruction, and the consequences of making and breaking laws. Interdisciplinary topics and approaches are most welcome. The conference hopes to bring together scholars and postgraduate students working in a range of disciplines and departments.

Topics to be explored include (but are not limited to):
• Canon Law
• Common Law
• crime and punishment
• outlaws
• legal bureaucracy and scribal culture
• laws of nature
• laws of love
• gender, sexuality and the law
• literary ‘laws’ (genre, decorum, metre)
• rules for living/religious rules
• the Old Law and the New Law
• divine justice
• Chaucer as Justice of the Peace
• the Man of Law and the Manciple
• cross-cultural encounters and the law
• breaking laws
• evidence, authority and proof
• eyewitness testimony
• languages of the law
• iconographies of the law


The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: