Starting with the city-state of Rome in 449 B.C.E., a new system of law was devised between the Patrician and the Plebeian people, which were engraved onto twelve tablets. 300 years afterwards, Romans take over Palestine and attempt to take over Britain. Initially the Celts hold their ground and the Romans don’t succeed. It would take a century to pass before the Celts are beaten and Britain is under Roman control. A little over a hundred years afterwards, Christianity has gained popularity and Romans have given up control of Britain. There was too much war to try to keep it. Eventually the Teutons, Jutes, Angelo and Saxons invade the shores and push out any remaining Celts living on the southern areas of the island. So England is born from primarily the Anglo-Saxons that brought along their culture, language and beliefs. They also brought along their own laws, which were decided upon by the king. All of England didn’t follow the same laws initially though. Laws were controlled by wealthy landowners. Clerics ran the courts, which made the laws localized. That didn’t change until William the Conqueror appeared in 1066 C.E. He established one common national law for England.
About 40 years after William arrived in England, his son Henry I became King of England. He established the royal courts, but they didn’t really use the written law. It was left up to the clerics, acting as judges, to be fair and use good sense when they arrived at their judgments. Here is where a common-law tradition was formed. Common law consists of the rules and other doctrine developed gradually by the judges of the English royal courts as the foundation of their decision, and added to over time by judges of those
References: Cotterrell, R. & Michaolowski, R. Description and History of Common Law. Retrieved from http://www.radford.edu/~junnever/law/commonlaw.htm History of Law.info (2013). History of American Law. Retrieved from http://historyoflaw.info/history-of-american-law.html Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. (2011). Laws at Jamestown. Retrieved from http://www.historyisfun.org/Laws-at-Jamestown.htm MoneyInstructor.com. (2012). The Creation of Criminal Laws in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.moneyinstructor.com/doc/criminallaw.asp Price, R.G. (2005). The Ten Commandments, American History and American Law. Rational Revolution. Retrieved from http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/ten_commandments.htm Thorpe, M. (2012). U.S. Law and the History of English Common Law. Retrieved from http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/CommonLaw.htm