Introduction to the English Legal System


Introduction to the English Legal System

In Brief

The English common law system is considered by many to be the matriarch of all common law systems in the world today. However, it may surprise you to learn that the system of binding case law precedent was not an English invention at all.

In 1066, William the Conqueror – the first English Norman King, laid the foundations for the introduction of a system of law which was common to everyone. Thus, began a process of unification of the law in England.

The impact of history on the English legal system cannot be ignored. Many initiatives introduced by later Kings, Henry II (circuit judges), James I (fusing common law and equitable Courts) and John I (signing the Magna Carta) still influence the English legal system and the world today.

Ancient legal principles and maxims borrowed from Latin writings, adopted through usage of Law French, and modernised by international trade are still taught at universities and they are essential tools for legal practitioners.

The global practice of law may have slowly led to the deterioration of the separation of the main branches of the profession – solicitors and barristers – but the prestige and honour of being a lawyer remains in many cultures. Many influential leaders in world history have been drawn from the legal profession.

What’s in this module?
History of the English Legal System >> learn the historical background to how the English legal system was founded and developed
The English Court System >> examine the hierarchy of the English Court system and the role of specialist tribunals
The Legal Profession >> study the role of solicitors and barristers in the English system and explore the different areas of modern legal practice
The Language of Law >> delve into the language of law tracing the influence of Latin and Law French and the use of archaic terminology
  • Exercises
  • Case Study – The $5million comma
    • A Precedent -making case in common law
      • details and judgement
      • why the case is important
  • Writing Corner
    • Presentation of an advertisement for a legal position.
    • Email from a university professor.

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