22 February 2019

JOURNAL: The Journal of Legal History XXXIX (2018), Issue 3

(image source: Routledge Law)

Changes to Common Law Printing in the 1630s: Unlawful, Unreliable, Dishonest? (Ian Williams)
Law printing changed dramatically in the reign of Charles I. This article shows that the legally imposed monopoly on printing books of the common law (the law patent) was breached regularly and seemingly with impunity. Piracy, false attributions of authorship and concerns about quality all appear from the late-1620s onwards. The article explains these changes by stressing a number of factors: changes related to the holder of the patent and those printing under it; difficulties and tensions in the enforcement of the patent; and unauthorized printing creating a more competitive (and therefore challenging) market for law printers.
Felony Forfeiture at the Manor of Worfield, C.1370–C.1600 (Spike Gibbs)
Felony forfeiture has recently received attention by historians working in both politico-legal and economic traditions. However, its history within the context of local lordships remains underexplored. By utilizing an exceptionally rich set of cases recorded in the court rolls of the manor of Worfield for the period c.1370–c.1600, this article explores the exercise of the franchisal rights to felons’ goods of one manorial lord. It demonstrates that these rights were extensive, and their application provides an excellent opportunity for historians to reconstruct the material living standards of late medieval villagers. It argues that the legal context of the manorial court makes the lists of goods recorded exceptionally valuable, in that the lives of the felons who owned these goods can be explored, highlighting this through one detailed case study. The conclusion also emphasizes the importance of considering the collaboration of tenants in the manorial forfeiture process, and that this was probably a crucial element in the success of seigniorial enforcement of this franchise. 
Thirteenth-Century Origins of Punitive or Exemplary Damages: The Statute of Westminster I (1275) and Roman Law (Jason Taladiaros)
This article highlights the importance of the Statute of Westminster I in the history of the concept of punitive or exemplary damages in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Maitland had long ago noted that its provisions allowing for double and triple reparation had similarities to duplum and triplum remedies in Roman law. But this tentative hypothesis has not been further explored by scholars. In this article I suggest that the antecedents for the provisions on multiple reparation in Westminster I may lie in the Roman law delicts of furtum or iniuria and their links to actions in duplum and triplum, based on conceptual similarities in the substantive nature of the wrongdoing. This article explores possible avenues for direct Roman law influence as well as indirect means of transmission, namely by non-Roman law sources of concepts analogous to Roman law.
The Contribution of Contemporary Mathematics to Contractual Fairness in Equity, 1751–1867 (Ciara Kennefick)
Contract law and mathematics are, at first sight, singularly unlikely bedfellows. Yet, the influence of each discipline on the other has been significant. The primary claim in this article is that equity’s reception of the mathematics of probability in the second half of the eighteenth century led, at the beginning of the following century, to the development of a striking rule under which contracts for the sale of certain types of property could be rescinded if there was a deviation, however minimal, from the fair price. An almost purely mathematical question was, essentially, the only one which was pertinent. Vestiges of this remarkable episode are still visible today the statutory provision which ultimately removed this anomalous rule in 1867, the Sale of Reversions Act, survives in section 174 of the Law of Property Act 1925. This article uncovers and reconstructs the richly interdisciplinary aspect of this now entirely dormant provision. In so doing, a significantly novel perspective on the much debated question of contractual fairness from the second half of the eighteenth century to 1867 emerges: contractual fairness was at the heart of early probability and subsequently, probability was at the heart of contractual fairness in English law.
Book reviews:
A History of Australian Tort Law 1901–1945: England’s Obedient Servant? (Richard A. Buckley)
Strange Bedfellows: Marriage in the Age of Women’s Liberation (Rebecca Probert) 
(read more on Taylor&Francis Online)

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