Matt_Georgia: Your correspondent has a point. Many terms in philosophy generally (justice, knowledge, existence), and in political philosophy in particular, are essentially contested.
As should have been obvious from my discussion with Dr Woods, I never denied that Ireland had many little kingdoms. What I was trying to get across was that such kingdoms bear very little resemblance to what we know as the state today. Law in those little kingdoms was essentially independent of political control.
Of course, the Roman Republic was a state in some sense of the term, as was the Roman Empire. But, once again, for the most part, Roman law was not a function of political power.