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English Legal System

Topics: Common law, Law, Legal systems of the world / Pages: 5 (1012 words) / Published: Jan 9th, 2014
Table of Contents

Overview & Development English Legal System……………………………………………….2
Characteristics of English Legal System ………………………………………………………...3
References …………………………………………………………………………………….....6

Business & Corporate Law
English Legal System

Most would agree that some form of legal system is necessary for a society to thrive. This is true of the most primitive of cultures, but the English legal system has developed over many centuries, and in the process, has become increasingly sophisticated and complex. The phrase “English Legal System” refers to the law of England and Wales. It is the basis of common law legal systems in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the British Overseas Territories and most Commonwealth countries. This system of law has developed in England from approximately Norman Conquest of 1066 to the present, separately from the systems of other parts of the United Kingdom such as Scotland. It includes legislation, Common Law, and a host of other legal norms established by Parliament, the Crown, and the judiciary. It is the fountain from which flowed nearly every facet of U.S. law during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The essence of English common law is that it is made by judges sitting in courts, applying legal precedent to the facts before them. A decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest appeal court in England and Wales, is binding on every other court. Like stated in the introductory paragraph, it has developed tremendously over the years. In the ccenturies immediately following Norman Conquest of 1066 a strong central system of government developed, by the Tudor Period 1485-1603 the key institutions of Parliament, the Common Law Courts (King’s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer) and the Court of Chancery (administering “Equity”) had come into being. Then Parliament became the supreme legal authority in the country in 1642-51 after the English Civil War. Another change and development dates back to 1873-75 when the Judicature Acts came into play. The Crown Court dates from the Courts Act 1971 which was abolished and replaced various courts including the "Assizes" and "Quarter Sessions" and many local courts. The tribunal structure has undergone radical reform as a result of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. All these acts are some of many of the different changes and developments that have taken place with-in the “English Law System”, thus making it one of the most sophisticated and complex systems in the world.
There are a few characteristics of the English Law System three of which are very important, they are:
1. Common Law Inheritance
2. European Partnership
3. International Dependency

Common Law Inheritance
The single most distinctive characteristic of the English legal system is its common law heritage.
Common law, also known as case law or precedent, is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals. By contrast, civil law is set on statutes adopted through the legislative/parliamentary process and/or regulations issued by the executive branch on base of the parliamentary statutes.
Essentially, the common law is the law as stated or developed by the Judges. The origins of the common law may be traced back before the existence of Parliament. It seems to have evolved from a happenstance congruence of the adoption after the Norman Conquest by successive monarchs of indigenous customs as the basis for the administration of justice. In modern times, an important area of the common law known as the "Royal Prerogative" has come into prominence. The Prerogative refers to important rights of the "Crown." The right to administer justice is a key prerogative power. Originally, these rights belonged to the Monarch but, under modern constitutional arrangements, the powers have come to be exercised by the Government or, in the case of justice, by the judges. Some of these powers are of major importance such as the right to conduct foreign relations, including power to make treaties with other States or international bodies and the power to declare war etc.

European Partnership
The accession of the United Kingdom to membership of the European Communities meant that Community Law became applicable in this country. This applicability affects the British legal system. The European Communities Act 1972 provided that from 1 January 1973 the UK had new sources of law: The European Communities Treaties themselves (Primary Laws), plus the various types of legislation made by the EEC (Secondary Laws). Rulings of the European Court of Justice also affect English law. These are sources of law only in the areas in which the European Community is concerned, which currently comprise agriculture and fishing, companies, competition, free movement of workers and goods, education, consumer policy, health, and environment. However, EC has not competencies over the UK in economic and social areas.

International Dependency
Developing countries face institutional, political and economic rigidities, both on the domestic and the international front and are caught in a dependence and dominance relationship with rich countries. In essence the term international dependency refers to different legal systems (international) depending on each other for numerous reasons. It is a truism to remark that a national legal system is only comprehensible in the context of other systems. One of the most powerful economic features of the English legal system in recent years which is illustrative of its dependence upon the wider international community is its success as a Centre for international dispute resolution. Dominance of the legal services market along with New York has produced, along with the contributions to GDP for the UK, a strong dependency on international trade.

References

Barnett, Hilaire (2008-07-21). Constitutional & Administrative Law. London: Routledge-Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-415-45829-0.
Beale, Joseph H. (1935) A Treatise on the Conflict of Laws. ISBN ISBN 1-58477-425-8
Becket, Saint Thomas Clarendon, Constitutions
Dicey & Morris (1993). The Conflict of Laws 12th edition. London: Sweet & Maxwell Ltd. ISBN 0-420-48280-6
Domesday Book. "Magna Charta" (Appendix, Primary Document).
Goodman E (1995) The origins of the western legal tradition Sydney: Federation Press
Slapper, Gary; David Kelly (2008-07-15). The English Legal System. London: Routledge-Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-415-45954-9.
The Spanish Course S. C 1996-2006
Wilson G (1995) ‘Enriching the study of law’ in G Wilson (ed) Frontiers of legal scholarship Chichester: Wiley (p229)

References: Barnett, Hilaire (2008-07-21). Constitutional & Administrative Law. London: Routledge-Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-415-45829-0. Beale, Joseph H. (1935) A Treatise on the Conflict of Laws. ISBN ISBN 1-58477-425-8 Becket, Saint Thomas Clarendon, Constitutions Dicey & Morris (1993). The Conflict of Laws 12th edition. London: Sweet & Maxwell Ltd. ISBN 0-420-48280-6 Domesday Book. "Magna Charta" (Appendix, Primary Document). Goodman E (1995) The origins of the western legal tradition Sydney: Federation Press Slapper, Gary; David Kelly (2008-07-15). The English Legal System. London: Routledge-Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-415-45954-9.  The Spanish Course S. C 1996-2006 Wilson G (1995) ‘Enriching the study of law’ in G Wilson (ed) Frontiers of legal scholarship Chichester: Wiley (p229)

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