Human Rights in Britain and France: From Thomas Becket to the French Revolution

Monday 10 October 2022
Sir Michael Tugendhat (Honorary Professor of Law, University of Leicester, Inner Temple Bencher, joint author with Elizabeth de Montlaur Martin of the Les droits du genre humain: la liberté en France et en Angleterre (1159-1793), [The rights of mankind : liberty in France and England (1159-1793)] Société de législation comparée, Paris, 2021 which was recently awarded a prize by the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques.)

On 10 October, the History Society hosted Master Michael Tugendhat for a lecture on the history of human rights in Britain and France. The lecture examined the legal developments in the prohibition of slavery and its legislation in both countries from the eleventh century to the present day.

Master Tugendhat explored the legal definition of slavery and how it differed from other sorts of work states, such as compulsory military service and obligatory works performed by a convicted criminal as part of sentencing. He discussed the earliest records in England pertaining to slavery, such as the Domesday Book, and the eventual disappearance of slavery by the later medieval period, offering the likely legal reasons for this disappearance. He discussed various legal developments in the following centuries, as both countries expanded their reach by establishing colonies in the Caribbean, and the differing laws that resulted from these burgeoning new trade routes.

History Society Lecture

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