"To Secure the Rights of Owners": Planter Crimes, Prize Courts, and the British Empire of Law

Document Type


Publication Date



On Thursday, September 27, Lauren Benton, professor of law and history and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University, delivers the 2012 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History.

The lecture began at 3 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

The title of Dean Benton’s lecture is “’To secure the Rights of Owners’: Planter Crimes, Prize Courts, and the British Empire of Law.”

Dean Benton’s research focuses on the legal history of European empires. She has been especially interested in understanding how imperial legal conflicts helped to form and shape a global legal order. This broad topic has encompassed research on legal pluralism in empires; maritime law (including piracy); the formation of imperial sovereignty; and the interactions of indigenous law and the law of colonizers.