Archive for the ‘Legal history’ Category

A History Lesson on the Development of Cash Rents (2012-4-27)

In early English society, rent was paid by way of labor or other services.  Only gradually did rent became an item paid in money.  Consider this analysis by Oxford Prof. A. W. B. Simpson. “At the time of the Conquest [in 1066] large parts of the country were not cultivated, and those that were, were […]






A. W. B. Simpson on English Wills in the 12th and 13th Centuries (2012-4-22)

A study of the ancient English common law begins, for many points, with the law that developed after 1066.  The history of inheritances of land is certainly curious, as we inevitably find it tied to the duties owed in a feudal, agricultural society. Here is an excellent analysis from Oxford Prof. A. W. B. Simpson. […]






L.S. Sealy – Categories of Fiduciary Duties (2012-1-10)

In a law review article published 50 years ago, Cambridge law professor L.S. Sealy reviewed two centuries of English case law on fiduciary relationships.  He concluded, correctly, that different relationships give rise to different duties. As a starting point, “Fletcher Moulton L.J. once warned against what he called ‘the danger of trusting to verbal formulae’ […]






The Long-Standing Connection Between Real Estate Law and Probate (2011-10-31)

I am reading a series of lectures delivered in 1972 by S.F.C. Milsom and collected in The Legal Framework of English Feudalism (Cambridge University Press 1976).  The text is difficult, as it frequently refers to rights, remedies, and procedures that long ago ceased to be relevant in the law of English-speaking nations. Still, as I […]






Tracing the Origin of the English Trust to the Year 1350 (2011-8-21)

Here is the clearest explanation I have found to date regarding the rise of trusts in English law.  Bear in mind that England was still a feudal system in the year 1350.  Also bear in mind that a court of law could not enforce a trust – such jurisdiction lay within the court of equity, […]






Historic Roots of the English Legal System (2011-4-12)

Scholars trace the creation of the English common law to the second half of the 12th century, at the time of Henry II.  Explains Belgian scholar Raoul Van Caenegem in The Birth of the English Common Law (Cambridge Univ. Press 1973), “the Common Law of England – so different from the jus commune or common […]