Paul Halliday

  • Julian Bishko Professor of History, University of Virginia
  • Professor of Law

Paul Halliday is Julian Bishko professor of history in the University’s Corcoran Department of History. He writes about the legal history of Britain and its empire from the 16th century to the 19th. His most recent book, "Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire," was published by Harvard University Press in 2010 and won the 2011 Inner Temple Book Prize. He frequently consults in the writing of briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on issues connected to English legal history.

Halliday's research has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation and the American Philosophical Society. He is now working on two research projects. One explores how record keeping practices and other material forms (for instance, courtroom design) constituted law from the 16th century to the 20th, in England and throughout the British empire. The other is concerned with the judicial role in making empire. He is currently studying the Supreme Court of Ceylon in the early 19th century, their adoption of jury trials in criminal cases, and repeated contests between justices and the island's British governor, especially during security crises. Through all his work runs a persistent interest in rethinking English law’s history and the use of that history in U.S. courts, as well as an interest in the relationship of English law to other legal regimes around the globe.



  • Ph.D.
    University of Chicago
  • M.A.
    University of Chicago
  • B.A.
    Wesleyan University


Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire (Harvard University Press/Belknap Press, 2010).

Dismembering the Body Politic: Partisan Politics in England's Towns, 1650-1730 (Cambridge University Press, 1998; paperback, 2003).

"The Suspension Clause: English Text, Imperial Contexts, and American Implications" (with G. Edward White), “ 94 Va. L. Rev. (May, 2008), 575: awarded the Sutherland Prize of the American Society for Legal History, 2009.

Current Courses

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All Courses

Legal History: Transnational/Imperial Contexts to 1850

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