English Legal History and its Materials
In his book "Concise History", Plucknett reviews several historical changes that were the reason to the beginning disappearance of judges' discretion during the 12-14th centuries.

One of the reasons he mentions is the enactment of the Statute of Northampton in 1328, which "declared that no royal command under the Great or the Smaller Seal shall disturb the course of the common law, and that if such command is issued, the judges shall ignore it". (Plucknett, p. 158).

I'm very interested in the historical and political events that served is the process of creating the Statute of Northampton, and the other influences it might had on other judicial matters during those centuries.

-- InbarAsif - 06 Oct 2014

One explanation for the enactment of the Statute of Northampton possibly arose out of a trend towards strict legal interpretation by judges that may have started during Edward I’s rule. [1] While judicial opinions continued to be seen as having the force of law of statutes even after the increase in statutory legislation during the rein of Edward I, by the time of Edward II, and even more so during the rein of Edward III, the statutes were seen as distinct from and more powerful than the common law. [2] As the common law became more personalized to each case, Judges moved from the roles of primary lawmakers to the interpreters of the law, which resulted in a more standardized system of interpretation because the judges had less insight into the motivations of the lawmakers writing the statutes. [3] Judges were not given direction on how to interpret the laws by the king or legislature and therefore devised their own system of jurisprudence, which included writing down how to interpret the law for the first time. [4] Additionally, beginning during the reign of Edward II, judges faced unique cases and could not use traditions in common law to interpret statutes and had to create other ways of interpretation. [5] Lawyers also began to advocate for stricter statutory interpretation, both to maintain favor with the judges and because they recognized the advantages of being able to present their arguments against the objective framework of the statute. [6]

In addition to the greater deference to statutory language observed by judges and lawyers, common people began to have a greater understanding of the existence of statutes during the fourteenth century as new statutes were announced publicly in markets and fairs each month. [7] These public declarations emphasized the role of parliament as the creator of law and the judges as interpreters. [8]

[1] Roger Simonds, Rational Individualism: The Perennial Philosophy of Legal Interpretation, 135 (1995) [2] Anthony Musson, The Age of Edward III, edited by John Bothwell, 74 (2001) [3] T.F.T. Plucknett, Statutes and Their Interpretation in the First Half of the Fourteenth Century, 55 (1922) [4] Plucknett, 53-55 [5] Plucknett, 54 [6] Musson, 75 [7] Musson, 75 [8] Musson, 75.

-- KatherineKettle - 06 Oct 2014



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r3 - 07 Oct 2014 - 01:06:15 - KatherineKettle
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