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Understanding Common Law

In Thoughts, Treasures on April 27, 2011 at 9:19 am

If you are, as I am, neither legally schooled nor originally from a Common Law Country, the studies of English, and to a lesser extent Scots law will seem initially a little mysterious.

Where I come from, law is, what is on the statute books (with a little review and interpretation by the courts). Legal language is comparatively easy, and you do not have to know the meaning of a writ, a summons or a certoriari.

But then, you are studying Common Law with all bells and whistles. And if you think a little bit like me, your understanding is helped by a grasp on where things come from, and why they are as they are. In that context, I have found a nugget in the shape of a very readable and thin, yet comprehensive book:


A Sketch of English Legal History

It starts from the English law just before Edward the Confessor and takes it from there to the Victorian Era. The amazing things is (okay, it is also a facsimile published by The Lawbook Exchange and really cheap) that it was written, or rather collected from a series of journal contributions, in 1915. And still it is coherent, readable, clear and interesting. The OpenLibrary also has an electronic copy available for free, if you don’t want paper. So it is definitely worth a look!! Let me know what you think.

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  1. I can’t seem to access this post from my iphone!

  2. Sorry to hear that. I have just tried it from my iPod, and the formatting tags show as such, but otherwise the post seems alright. I will have another look to see if there is anything I can change to make it better.

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