Peter C. Hansen is the creator and operator of the Legal History Project and its website, legalhistory.com.
Mr. Hansen is a member of the New York and Washington, D.C. Bars, and specializes in international law. Between 1999 and 2001, Mr. Hansen served as Editor of International Legal Materials at the American Society of International Law. From 2002 to 2004, he served as Counsel with the World Bank Administrative Tribunal. Mr. Hansen has also litigated Web-related federal intellectual property claims on behalf of Fair Oaks, LL.C. He currently serves as a Legal Officer in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, Codification Division.
Mr. Hansen holds an LL.M. from Cambridge, has studied at ILERI and Sorbonne-Tolbiac in Paris, and is an adjunct professor of international law at his U.S. alma mater, the American University School of International Service, located in Washington, D.C. He has taught legal method at American University's Washington College of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1996, and has coached and judged for the Jessup Moot Court Competition, which concerns hypothetical cases before the International Court of Justice.
Mr. Hansen became interested in legal history early in his law school studies, when he found that non-constitutional legal history was seldom noted, and even then often failed to place older cases in their proper historical context. Amazed at how little legal history most American lawyers knew when he broached the subject with them, and disturbed that his profession seemed largely ignorant of its roots, Mr. Hansen became determined to become educated in the field and to promote legal history's study and use in contemporary discourse. In 2004, his informal reading was replaced by formal study when he went to Cambridge on the recommendation of Sir Robert Jennings, retired Whewell Professor of International Law and former President of the International Court of Justice.
While there, Mr. Hansen studied legal history under Prof. Sir John Baker and Dr. Neil Jones. He established this site and, with friend Tony Tanke, publicly re-argued Slade's Case, a seminal legal battle decided in 1602 that dealt with proto-contract law. Only contemporary precedents were invoked at this moot, which was heard by Profs. Baker, D.J. Ibbetson, Dr. Jones, Mr. Richard Fentiman and Prof. Jonathan Rose of Arizona State University. This "historical moot" was apparently unprecedented in the seven-century history of Cambridge.
Mr. Hansen welcomes visitors to the site and encourages questions and feedback.