Contents

Trans-substantial Catholics

Watch this. What are the priests doing? Catholic Litmus Test If you are Catholic, then I hope for the sake of your soul you said he is welcoming Christ bodily into the world. If you didn’t you aren’t looking too […]


Poor Hanno

According to the pop-psychologist-pseudo-science writer Malcolm Gladwell in his magnum lite-opus, the Tipping Point we as a species need risk takers. Individuals who are willing to put it all on the line in pursuit of a goal will, if they […]


Intelligence and Happiness?

A while ago, the Inquisition pondered the nature of intelligence, and whether a certain outlook or attendant mental abilities are guides to or from happiness. This has been obliquely in the news of late…


Buried by the Sea

Its odd. Most graveyards in Connemara appear to be near water, if not actually right on the coast. Why? West Galway, or Connemara, has a lot of unused space. Admittedly, much of the land Connemara is industrially and agriculturally useless, […]


Cycling Two Abreast

Cycling two abreast in Ireland is legal, a protected practice, and it is safer.


Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland


Nürnburg’s Extra Bombs

Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.


Law & Morality

The preface to HLA Hart’s publication of his 1961 lecture series on the meeting of law and morality is as prevalent today as it ever was.


Foy – The Bodiless Head

A bodiless head is revered as being Saint Foy, who died a cruel death.


Coffee Haters

There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.


False Flags 2

False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.


Plastic 55 Years Ago

55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.


Cesare Borgia’s Party

The Pope, his son and fifty prostitutes – Cesare Borgia’s party.


Marriage – A Potted History

Marriage is thought by many to be a fixed rite, one which is immovable and inflexible. The truth is that it has not always seemed so…


Blinking Morse

The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.


Synecdoche

Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device


The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

Common Law

King Henry II, Plantagenet King of England and his common law wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, buried in Fontevraud Abbey. Image used under a creative commons licence, courtesy of Flickr user GWGS.

King Henry II, Plantagenet King of England and his common law wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, buried in Fontevraud Abbey. Image used under a creative commons licence, courtesy of Flickr user GWGS.

Common Law, or case law, is a body of enforcable laws arising from the practice of precedent. Say what?

Common law, as a phrase, is bandied about quite a bit; common law wife/husband, disputes in common law etc. But what exactly does the phrase mean?

In Ireland, Common Law is not the only source of law. There are three others; legislation, Constitutional Law and European Law. But to the layman Common Law is the most interesting.

Precedent

At the heart of the issue is the legal practice and understanding of the term “precedent”. Essentially, this refers to rulings by judges being given due to there existing a precedent which ought to be applied. A previous ruling broke new legal ground in such a matter and set the tone for those that follow, proscribing how the matter ought to be dealt with. As such, common law describes a body of laws compiled by, and appended with, rulings made by the judiciary in individual specific cases. These rulings are then entered into the legal canon.

Common law’s origins lie with the Norman conquest of Britain. As part of the takeover the new lords sought to impose a legal system of their own construction. Common law provided a way for the new laws to grow in a fluid way, bolstered, in its incipient stages at least, by healthy doses of cronyism. The Normans, after all, chose who the judges were, and thereby whom they would favour in their judgements.

This is not to say there is anything inherently corrupt about the process as it exists today. The Normans merely set out to create a brand new legal framework. Common law offered a way to quickly build a tradition and heritage. In a short space of time the new lords were able to solidify and legitimise their influence and expansion.

Flexible Framework

Common Law was extensively codified by Henry II, the Plantagenet King of England. It offered him the chance to have one kingdom wide, coherent and unified legal platform. One common law.

Due to this heritage Common Law still exists in most of the Anglophone world, especially those that were once part of the British Empire. It is efficient and fair, having been revised and adapted over time. Common law still has its place in the states in the United States which were not originally French and also Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Ghana, Cameroon, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia.

The real strength of Common Law and why it persists today is its non-theoretical real-world basis. It is the ongoing judicial response to everyday issues.

With a fast growth of a comprehensive body of laws, and the ability to deal with issues as they arise, it is easy to see why so many places still use the practice.

As with any legal practice the body of laws and related theory are vast. This only scratches the very slightest layer of the surface.

Bibliography
The Irish Legal System, Byrne and McCutcheon, Butterworths, 1996

This article was posted by on Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 22:43.
It is archived in Culture, History, Ireland, Legal and tagged , , , , , .

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