Alice Krzanich

Thesis title: Female domestic servants in early industrial Scotland: legal principles of the master-servant relationship as they applied to women in the period c 1790 – c 1850


Alice Krzanich is a third-year PhD student conducting research in legal history at the School of Law. Alice originally comes from New Zealand and has an LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland as well as a BA majoring in History from the same institution. More recently she completed an LLM at the University of Cambridge.


Alice also has practical experience working in law. Following undergraduate studies she was a judges' clerk at the New Zealand Court of Appeal, helping members of the judiciary research and write judgments. She then worked as a lawyer at a firm specialising in public law before becoming a junior barrister (employed by a Queen's Counsel) focussing on criminal and civil litigation. All of these experiences have informed and influenced her understanding of law and its historical development.


Undergraduate teaching

Alice has tutored in the following undergraduate courses at Edinburgh Law School:

  • Scottish Legal System
  • Contract and Unjustified Enrichment


Research summary

Alice's research looks at Scots master-servant law as it applied to female domestic servants in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Scotland was becoming an industrial nation. This research is situated within the developing field of women’s legal history and involves the study of law and gender, historical contract law, and the legal relationship of master and servant.

Alice is particularly focussed on the contractual aspects of master-servant law as it applied to women, including issues surrounding the hiring and dismissal of female servants, as well as the obligations female servants owed to masters/mistresses and vice versa. Alice's research will consider to what extent nineteenth-century notions of gender influenced the application and formation of these contractual principles, and what this reveals about the law's attitude to women who worked in the household.

Papers delivered

Alice has presented her PhD research at the following conferences and seminar series hosted by UK institutions:

  • Gender and Justice in Scotland: Historical and Legal Perspectives Symposium, University of Glasgow, May 2021 (online).
  • Edinburgh Private Law Discussion Group, University of Edinburgh, February 2021 (online).
  • Legal and Social History Workshop, University of Cambridge, February 2021 (online).
  • Graduate Women Scotland Research Presentation Day, October 2020 (online).
  • Edinburgh Law School staff seminar series, October 2020 (online).
  • Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh, June 2019.

Alice has also delivered papers at the following conferences/seminar series hosted by institutions outside of the UK:

  • Women, Money and Markets (1600-1900): Fourth Annual Conference on “Female Economies”, University of Zurich, June 2021 (online).
  • 14th Annual McGill Law Graduate Conference, McGill University, May 2021 (online).
  • VUW History Programme Seminar Series, Victoria University of Wellington, April 2021 (online).
  • 39th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society, University of Auckland, December 2020 (online).