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India : legal resources: Legal History

Subjects: Law - Foreign Law

History of Law in India

Finding texts on this topic
In the Bodleian Law Library, books with shelf marks beginning Hindu are on open shelf on Level 3, one floor up from the entrance level. Books with shelf marks beginning Cw India are on open shelf on Level 1, one floor below the entrance. The floors are connected by both stairs and a lift. Please do ask for further directions when in the library. 

If you are new to this topic, the two following may be useful starting points.
OIELH (link below) has many useful entries. 'Indian Subcontinent' has an overview of Indian law and discussion of Christian laws in the Indian subcontinent; 'Hindu Law' (with six subentries: an overview of Hindu law, discussion of Vedic law, Hindu law in the formative and post-formative periods, medieval Hindu law, and Anglo-Hindu law); Jaina Law; Sikh Law;  Dharma; Rājadharma; Sadācāra; and others. If you have a legal topic in mind, it may be worth searching OIELH by that too! Some topics include sections on the Hindu Law relating to it - such  Divorce; Property; Succession. 

The Oxford Handbook (below) has chapter 'Indian Law'  by Mitra Sharafi "This chapter considers what the future holds for the field of Indian legal history, which has burgeoned since the late 1990s. It explores opportunities for methodological innovation through digital history, oral history, and collaboration between scholars. These approaches promise to counterbalance certain patterns that have developed to date, particularly the heavy reliance on written English-language records from the colonial period."

LLMC-Digital (below) digitises pre 21st century editions. If you are looking for the law books of a previous generation of legal practitioner in India, this platform would be worth trying. To see quickly what it has click Search Collections in right hand column. Then click Other Countries in the central box on next page. Scroll down list of countries to click on India. Then you have a choice categories of books to open.

The Four Nineteenth Century Law Commissions

Four Law Commissions
First: 1835–1843 (East India)
Second: 1853–1858
Third: 1861–1870
Fourth: 1879–1884

The Official Papers collection on Floor 0 should have their reports in the series called House of Commons Papers, Accounts and Papers

Holders of an Oxford Single Sign On can access these online via UK Parliamentary papers database (link below). This database can also be used to identify the particular volume needed in the Official Papers Collection. (In its section House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 19th century subject index.)

Primary Sources

Related LIbguide

Social Science Library

The holdings of our neighbour library may have useful titles for the wider picture