The British constitution is regarded as unique among the constitutions of the world. What are the main characteristics of Britain's peculiar constitutional arrangements? How has the British constitution altered in response to the changing nature of its state - from England, to Britain, to the United Kingdom? What impact has the UK's developing relations with the European Union caused? These are some of the questions that Martin Loughlin addresses in this Very Short Introduction.
The fundamental legal and institutional changes of recent decades have brought the English constitution into question. Accompanying issues have been the extent to which its traditional character and main features have been changed, lost their former appeal and retained their distinctness in the European Union. These issues are not readily addressed in everyday thinking about a constitution simply conceived as unwritten or in constitutional accounts variously preoccupied with abstract analysis, political accountability or transcendent norms. The English Historical Constitution addresses these issues by developing a historical constitutional approach and thus elaborating on continuity and change in the constitution's main doctrines and institutions. From an English legal perspective, it offers a complement or corrective to analytical, political and normative approaches by reforming an old conception of the historical constitution and of its history, partly obscured and long neglected through the modern analytical preoccupation with its law as an abstract scheme of rules, principles and practices.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century Walter Bagehot wrote a classic account of the British constitution as it had developed during Queen Victoria's reign. He argued that the late Victorian constitution was not at all what people thought it was. Anthony King argues that the same is true at the beginning of this century. Most people are aware that a series of major constitutional changes has taken place, but few recognize that their cumulative effect has been to change entirely the nature of Britain's constitutional structure. The old constitution has gone. The author insists that the new constitution is a mess, but one that we should probably try to make the best of. The British Constitution is neither a reference book nor a textbook. Like Bagehot's classic, it is written with wit and mordant humour - by someone who is a journalist and political commentator as well as a distinguished academic.
Professor Pocock's subject is how the seventeenth century looked at its own past. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one of the most important modes of studying the past was the study of the law - the historical outlook which arose in each nation was in part the product of its law, and therefore, in turn of its history. In clarifying the relation of the historical outlook of seventeenth-century Englishmen to the study of law, and pointing out its political implication, Pocock shows how history's ground was laid for a more philosophical approach in the eighteenth century.
Developing the insights of the new cultural history of politics, this book reexamines the debates over the meaning of the English constitution from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, and establishes clearly its centrality to our understanding of English politics, history and national identity.
This introductory text explores the historical origins of the main legal institutions that came to characterize the Anglo-American legal tradition, and to distinguish it from European legal systems. The book contains both text and extracts from historical sources and literature. Includes medieval illuminated manuscripts, paintings, books and manuscripts, caricatures, and photographs.
How does law come to be stated as substantive rules, and then how does it change? In this collection of discussions from the James S. Carpentier Lectures in legal history and criticism, one of Britain's most acclaimed legal historians S. F. C. Milsom focuses on the development of English common law--the intellectually coherent system of substantive rules that courts bring to bear on the particular facts of individual cases--from which American law was to grow. Milsom discusses the differences between the development of land law and that of other kinds of law and, in the latter case, how procedural changes allowed substantive rules first to be stated and then to be circumvented. He examines the invisibility of early legal change and how adjustment to conditions was hidden behind such things as the changing meaning of words. Milsom points out that legal history may be more prone than other kinds of history to serious anachronism. Nobody ever states his assumptions, and a legal writer, addressing his contemporaries, never provided a glossary to warn future historians against attributing their own meanings to his words and therefore their own assumptions to his world. Formal continuity has enabled nineteenth-century assumptions to be carried back, in some respects as far back as the twelfth century.
Janet McLean explores how the common law has personified the state and how those personifications affect and reflect the state's relationship to bureaucracy, sovereignty and civil society, the development of public law norms, the expansion and contraction of the public sphere with nationalization and privatization, state responsibility and human rights.
In this contribution to the ongoing debate over the origins of constitutionalism and free government, Sandoz brings together a selection of scholars to present a reevaluation of the place of Magna Carta and Ancient Constitution in the tradition of Anglo-American liberty and rule of law.