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 a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Auckland as well as a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History from the same institution. In 2018 she completed a Master of Law (First Class) 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.


Responsibilities & affiliations

Alice is a member of or affiliated with the following organisations:

  • Centre for Legal History, University of Edinburgh
  • The Stair Society
  • Scots Legal History Group
  • Women's History Scotland
  • Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland

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.


Current research interests

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.

Conference details

Alice has presented papers summarising her PhD research at the following events:

  • Graduate Women Scotland Research Presentation Day 2020;
  • Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland Annual Conference 2019.


Papers delivered

In 2020 Alice presented a seminar titled "Waged Worker or Unpaid Family Member? Female Domestic Labour and the Presumption of Remuneration in Scots Law, 1800 - 1850" to staff at Edinburgh Law School.