Western culture refers to the societal structures and norms that arose from Ancient Greece and spread throughout Europe. This included the ways their governments were run and how their legal systems developed. Australia, being a colony of the British Empire was heavily influenced by the concepts and institutions established under English government and law, which had a profound impact on how the state, especially that of New South Wales, and federal legal systems were originated and developed, based on what was relevant to the new colony and what was not. Origin of English Law
To understand how the English legal system had an influence on the concepts and institutions in the Australian legal system, it must first be known how it was established and developed. The Battle of Hastings in 1066 which saw the Normandy takeover by William the Conqueror, saw a change in the way England was ruled, and the further development of the Feudal System to English society. The King argued that he was above all law, whilst Parliament refuted this claim. What followed was centuries of fighting that saw the legal system develop and gain power over the monarchy in order to Magna Carta
The Magna Carta was a 1215 document, that King John, was forced to sign by his Curia Regis, or King’s court, as he had been abusing his powers. Restrictions were placed upon the amount of arbitrary power the King had, as well as outlines for the court systems. Its main purpose was to show that it was possible to put limitation upon the King and for the court to have some control over the ruling of the country. It was Holdsworth who said “[T]he gaining of Magna Carta closes one period in the history of English law and begins another. It closes the period during which the law is developed by the power of the crown alone, and it begins the period which will end in the establishment of a Parliament, with power to take some share in the making a development of the law.” This movement which gave power to...
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