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Meg Hornsby

'The Relevance of Roman Law in the Modern Judicial System'

For her EPQ, Meg combined her love of Latin and her strong interest in the Roman civilisation to investigate how Roman Law is still having an impact on society in the modern day. From learning that one of the modules she could take in university is ‘An Overview of Roman Law’, she was compelled to learn why we still study a legal system from 2000 years ago and whether society has changed enough that the Roman legal system isn’t justifiable to follow anymore. She later narrowed down her research to follow the development of the Justinian Code in 514AD, a major turning point in the development of Law, after learning that technological advances during the Roman era had caused rapid changes to the legal system.


What sources did you use in your research?

I began with school books to establish my research, including Education in Ancient Rome by Stanley F Bonner and Ostia: Aspect of Roman City Life by Gustav Hermansen, and the online courses ‘From Crime to Punishment’ by the University of York and ‘Law for Non Lawyers’ by the University of Manchester. I then moved forward to other resources from my local library, asking for the views of Latin experts, and a series of podcasts based on Roman history.

Why did you choose this topic?

I wanted to base my project on a historical time period due to my love of history and of foreign cultures. I have always been intrigued in the personal connections that legal professionals have with their clients, hence why I decided to focus more on the people of Rome rather than the physical structures or ideas that they have.

What have you learned from this project?

I learned how, superficially, the 2 legal worlds are one and the same. I also learned more about Cicero, a Roman lawyer and philosopher who was a key individual in the Roman world and how he was able to change the course of the history of Rome. My research on Cicero was one of the most interesting areas as I loosely studied him during my GCSE Latin studies and could build on my previous knowledge.

How has it impacted your life?

Following the research into the modern area of law, I feel as if I have a greater understanding how this sector works and the fundamentals of the legal profession. Speaking to current and retired professionals have given me an insight into the lives of a legal professional and have made me question my future plans for higher education.

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