Common law Explain the different sources of Law in England. The legal system in the UK has expanded over many centuries and has also changed regularly during this period. Open University, Block 1, Pg 96 and Moving on, to look at Common law, Common law is a type of legal system that relies on precedents developed by judges and court cases.
These courts relied on customs to decide cases before them thereby giving such customs the force of law. The court of Kings Bench, Court Exchequer and the court of common pleas are credited from having developed common law.
These courts standardized and universalized customs and applied them in dispute resolution. At first, common law was a complete system of rules both criminal and civil. The development of the common law is traceable to the Norman Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Romans are credited for having laid the foundation for the development of the common law. Doctrine of stare decisis 1.
There were separate writs for separate complaints. Writs were obtained at the Royal office. Often, police officers demanded bribes to compel the defendant appear in court and would not compel an influential defendant. The writ system did not recognize all possible complains and many would be plaintiffs could not access the courts.
It also lengthened the judicial process. At common Law, a judge having once decided a case in a particular manner had to decide all subsequent similar cases similarly. This made the common Law system rigid. Common Law consists of decisions handed down by courts of law on the basis of customs and usages and may be described as the English Customary Law.
There were separate writs for different complaints. This system did not recognize all possible complaints and many would be plaintiffs had no acess to the courts b. The writ system encouraged corruption c.
It lengthened the course of justice 2. The common Law courts applied the doctrine of Stare Decisis. This practice rendered the legal system rigid and hence unresponsive to changes.
The common Law procedure of administration justice was highly technical. Common Law courts paid undue attention to minor points of procedure and many cases were often lost on procedural matters. The administration of justice at common Law was characterized by delays.
Defendants often relied on standard defenses to delay the course of justice. These defenses were referred to as essoins and included; Being out by floods, being unwell or being away on a crusade.
If sickness was pleaded, the case could be adjourned for 1 year and 1 day. Common Law did not recognize the trust relationship. At common Law beneficiaries had no remedies against errant trustees and trustees had no enforceable rights against beneficiaries.
Common Law courts had only one remedy to offer namely monetary compensation or damages. They could not compel performance or restrain the same. Inadequate protection of borrowers: At common Law, a borrower who failed to honour his contractual obligations within the contractual period of repayment would lose not only his security but the total amount paid.
It was developed to mitigate the harshness of the common Law. The development of equity is traceable to the early petitions to the king by persons dissatisfied with the common Law. At first, the king heard the petitions and decided the dispute between the parties on the basis of what he thought was fair.
He was overwhelmed by the petitions whereupon he established the office of the Lord Chancellor who would now hear the petitions. More offices of the Lord Chancellor were established due to the number of petitions.
The Lord Chancellor decided all petitions on the basis of the principle of fairness. Administration of justice was fast and the writ system was not applicable. However, the decisions handed down by the Lord Chancellor were not legally binding as the Lord Chancellor was not legally trained.
It was not until the beginning of the 16th century that the Lord Chancellors offices were held by legally trained persons and the decisions they made had the force of Law.
These decisions are what are referred to as the Doctrines of Equity.The sources of law have changed over time. It is not possible to find one single source or form of law in any society.
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