Monday, December 2, 2019

Sutherland Article Prize to Weil & Handler

At this year's meeting of the ASLH, the Sutherland Article Prize (for the best article on English legal history published in the previous year) was awarded to Patrick Weil (Centre for the Social  HIstory of the 20th century at the University of Paris) and Nicholas Handler (Paul Weiss) for their article “Revocation of Citizenship and Rule of Law: How Judicial Review Defeated Britain’s First Denaturalization Regime.” It appeared in Volume 36, no. 2 of the Law & History Review (May 2018).

The citation from the prize committee:
Denaturalization, a policy which deprives subjects of their citizenship, originated in the United States (1906). Adopted by Britain via the Nationality and Status of Aliens Acts of 1914 and 1918, it fell out of use after the Second World War but remained on the statute books. While the power to revoke citizenship was not used at all between 1973 and 2000, in the past decade the Home Office has demonstrated a new willingness to apply the law, revoking the citizenship of ‘at least 373 individuals’ in that period. Weil and Handler’s article explores the history of denaturalization, considering both its decline and recent resurgence. They argue that a provision of the BNSA Act of 1918 created a system of judicial review for decisions made within the Home Office that limited and eventually extinguished the powers of that office where denaturalization was concerned. Legislative changes in 2002 replaced the committee-based review, which had served to protect individual rights, with a ‘significantly more deferential’ and often secretive form of oversight. Original in terms of both its primary sources and argument, Weil and Handler’s article also offers an intriguing take on the broader issue of national belonging which has garnered so much attention in recent years in Anglo-American scholarship.
The committee also awarded an Honorable Mention -- to Elizabeth Papp Kamali (Harvard University) for “Trial by Ordeal by Jury in Medieval England, or Saints and Sinners in Literature and Law,” which appeared in Emotion, Violence, Vengeance and Law in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of William Ian Miller (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

The members of this year's Sutherland Article Prize Committee were: Rebecca Probert (Chair) (University of Exeter); Paul Halliday (University of Virginia); Michael Lobban (London School of Economics, University of London); Allyson May (University of Western Ontario); and P.G. McHugh (University of Cambridge). We thank them for their service and offer our congratulations to all the winners!
-- Karen Tani

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