The sources of the English Legal System in the order of their constitutional importance

Topics: Common law, United Kingdom, Law Pages: 3 (766 words) Published: October 13, 2013


Since the very beginning of the human era the particular rules were necessary for every pre-historian community to exist as the main principles of fair trade, the property, the state of the person in the society and moral standards needed to be defined. In our days these rules are commonly referred as law. Primitive pre-historian communities were reliant on customary law systems; however, the rise of first civilizations and writing systems caused the written law to appear. Nowadays each country has its own law. One of the oldest law systems in Europe belongs to England. There are three main sources of English law: European law, Parliament and The common law.

One of the most important sources of the English law is case law (often called common law). Around 1250, a common law was produced to be applied consistently and could be used to predict particular decisions. Actually, there are three different cases for the common law to be used in. Firstly, in order to describe the law which is common to whole country, it might be applied in contrast to the term ‘local law’. Secondly, the term was created in the common law courts from the one made in the equity courts (the Courts of Chancery). The rules which were intended to bring greater fairness to the strict application of the common law (hence the term equity) had been developed by these particular courts. Though, today the common law and equity are distinguished between only historically. Thirdly, the term ‘common law’ refers to the law created in the courts as a contrary to the legislation created by Parliament. For instance, Hadley v Baxendale (1854) which said that consequential damages arising from a breach of contract cannot be recovered if those damages were not foreseeable. It is the example of case law.

Although England is described as a common law system, this description is in a sense misleading because it gives the impression that case law is the most important source of the law. The reality...
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