Monday, November 22, 2010

Sutherland Prize to Emily Kadens

This year's ASLH Sutherland Prize went to Emily Kadens, University of Texas Law School, for "The Puzzle of Judicial Education: The Case of Justice William De Gray," 75 Brooklyn Law Review 143 (2009). The Sutherland Prize is named in honor of the late Donald W. Sutherland, a distinguished historian of the law of medieval England and a mentor of many students, is awarded annually to the person or persons who wrote the best article on English legal history published in the previous year. Here's the Sutherland Committee's prize citation:
In this article Professor Kadens presents a cogent analysis of how an excellent but little-known judge, William de Grey, equipped himself to perform his office. De Grey was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in January 1771, a position he held for ten years. Having had little experience in Common Pleas during his years in practice, de Grey promptly began to buy reference books. Using de Grey’s accounts, held by the Norfolk Record Office, Professor Kadens reconstructs de Grey’s book purchases and shows how he used his expanding library to shape the first stage of his judicial education. She then explains in careful detail how de Grey creted a two-volume encyclopedic bench book by interleaving pages of his own notes with the pages of the 1772 edition of Francis Buller’s Introduction to the Law Relative to Trials at Nisi Prius. The Norfolk archives have only one volume of de Grey’s bench book, but Professor Kadens constructs a persuasive description of the full two-volume compilation and of de Grey’s extensive annotations. The marginalia, she states, “show that de Grey sought to have at his fingertips the various types of information that would help him decide questions of law, give explanations to juries, and engage with counsel.”

Professor Kadens’ article is based upon meticulous documentary research and is a splendid example of the enhanced historical understanding that can be gained through the patient archival work of the legal historian.