‘At the Point He Always Wished For’ (1770–80)

Wilfrid Prest

in William Blackstone

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199550296
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720925 | DOI:
 ‘At the Point He Always Wished For’ (1770–80)

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Blackstone's decade as a puisne justice of King's Bench and then Common Pleas following the publication of his Commentaries was no mere anti-climax. A notably careful and conscientious approach to his judicial duties may have been in part a reaction to previous criticism of his personal integrity, and his conviction of the need to maintain the judiciary's dignity and independence. In general, he appears to have adopted a less severe approach to crime and criminals than some of his judicial colleagues. His judgments on civil cases attracted considerable attention, boosting his public image and reputation, which stood second only to that of Lord Mansfield. Blackstone's preoccupation with the minutiae of correct judicial behaviour sprang from principled scruples, not a delight in the power and status of his office.

Keywords: judge; Westminster Hall; King's Bench; Common Pleas; criminal justice; civil justice; Mansfield; judiciary

Chapter.  7817 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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