The History of Law and the History of Disputes

John Hudson

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198260301
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740640 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England

The History of Law and the History of Disputes

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This chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to engage with various approaches to the history of law. Some scholars, especially historians, have concentrated primarily on royal ideology, legislation, and administration of justice. Others, in part in reaction to such an approach, have concentrated on processes of disputing. Others still have focused on working out legal customs and their development, most notably with regard to landholding. Such studies tend to emphasise the conscious ideas of those involved, as revealed by language and practice. A fourth approach, generally associated with those from a legal background, has been the uncovering of elementary legal ideas and their transformation, often over periods longer than those treated by historians interested in matters involving law. This study is written with an awareness of the value of all four approaches, as well as of the tendency of approach to shape a conclusion on subjects as broad as the chronology of the emergence of the English common law or the causes and nature of legal change. The chapter then discusses contemporary practices of disputing, taking in the extra-judicial, the extra-curial, the extra-legal, and indeed the illegal.

Keywords: history of law; disputing; disputes; justice; legal customs; legal ideas; English common law

Chapter.  6415 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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