The Neglected Decade: legal issues of the 1950s

The Neglected Decade: legal issues of the 1950s
23 Nov 2022, 10:00 to 23 Nov 2022, 17:00
Conference / Symposium
Online via Zoom

The 1950s tend to be regarded as a very conservative decade, in contrast to the more radical 1960s and 1970s; yet there was considerable legal development, for example in the use of equity in the courts, in the movement for divorce and homosexual law reform, in the admission of women to the judiciary and the House of Lords, and in ideas about criminal justice.  Legal issues arising in the 1950s can be drawn from almost any area of legal study, and this conference offers participants the opportunity to explore this under-researched decade from whatever perspective they find most interesting. 

Legal history has been gaining in popularity in recent years but remains largely undeveloped in UK law schools, especially with respect to more recent history (and the 1950s qualify as ‘more recent’ to legal historians). Law is generally studied from the perspective of the social sciences but legal history lies squarely in the humanities and is practised by both historians and legal scholars, inside and outside the academy. This conference therefore contributes to the development of a humanities-based approach to interdisciplinary research.  In addition, promoting a better understanding of historical method among lawyers and of legal interpretation among historians is an important goal that contributes to the general development of this field.

Proposals are invited for presentations of approximately 20 minutes on any aspect of legal issues as they played out in the 1950s in the U.K. Topics already suggested include aspects of transport law, the Wolfenden Report, aspects of company law, of legal education and of gender/sexuality and the law. The organisers are looking for original presentations relating to any area of law which could contribute to what promises to be an exciting exploration of legal issues arising in the 1950s, which have hitherto received little or no attention. If you would like to offer a presentation, please send a brief abstract (no more than 200 words) to and by March 31st. If you wish to discuss your abstract before submitting it, please email Fiona or Rosemary

This event is free but advance booking is required. Details about how to join the virtual event will be circulated via email to registered attendees closer to the event date.


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