February 08, 2017

New Publication: Thieves in Court: The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century

From the seemingly insignificant theft of some bread and a dozen apples in nineteenth century rural Germany, to the high courts and modern-day property laws, this English-language translation of Habermas' Diebe vor Gericht explores how everyday incidents of petty stealing and the ordinary people involved in these cases came to shape the current legal system. The latest addition to the Publications of the German Historical Institute series, Thieves in Court: The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century gives an insight into the interconnectedness of social, legal and criminal history. Drawing from an unusual cache of archival documents of theft cases, Habermas traces the evolution and practice of the legal system of Germany through the nineteenth century to challenge long-standing narratives of legal development, state building, and modern notions of the rule of law.

Thieves in Court: The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century by Rebekka Habermas and translated by Kathleen Mitchell Dell'Orto is available from Cambridge University Press.