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Law Notes History of English Law Notes

Introduction Of The Real Actions Notes

Updated Introduction Of The Real Actions Notes

History of English Law Notes

History of English Law

Approximately 129 pages

History of English Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Cambridge, UK. The notes cover all the major History of English Law cases and so are perfect for anyone studying law in the UK or a great supplement for those doing legal history studies abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London). These notes are formed from a reading of the cases and numerous textbooks and are vigorous and concise. Every major topic is dealt with in three ways:

A) Sho...

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Change: Introduction of the real actions

Change came with royal intervention which destroyed the feudal state in miniature: the writ of right, the ‘writ of right’ praecipe, the petty assizes, and the writs of entry.

Shift from expectation in the heir, to a right in the heir, when it becomes possible to obtain royal intervention/a royal writ. To reach back into the past and overturn the L’s courts decision as wrongly made. If that can be done then the lord’s court ceases to be a feudal state in miniature; ends up simply as an agent applying the rules set elsewhere by the king’s judges. Also, the heir of the insane eldest son must have some claim to the land which does not depend upon being accepted by the lord as he himself has never been seised. He relies on the seisin of his grandfather – so his entitlement is not acceptance by the lord.

+ Milsom: The issuing of royal writs happened in the second half of the 12th c. Milsom thinks this radically changes the situation – destroys the feudal state in miniature. There begins the possibility of entitlement to land which is not dependent upon acceptance by the lord. The form of royal intervention is a bureaucratised actions came with the ‘real actions’: petty assizes, writ in right etc.

Debate: Why did the king (Henry II) make royal writs available? What was in it for him?

+ Maitland: Saw in royal intervention a deliberate attack on feudal jurisdiction. Aimed to transfer jurisdiction over landholding disputes out of lord’s court into king’s court – bible supermarket theory (Milsom – buying same cornflakes in Tesco and Sainsbury’s). So in both courts people dispute an abstract concept, and the same question, but the jurisdiction changes. The king’s court has procedural advantage over the lord’s courts so he exploits this.

+ Milsom: Sees it as intending to make the feudal structure work according to its assumptions. Sees interference as having a different purpose and effect. Purpose: saw the real actions are designed to support the system and make it work according to its assumptions; to provide remedies for tenants where the lord had accepted improperly and therefore to support the feudal framework, rather than destroy it. Effect: Not to shift the same title dispute from one court to another but rather to change the nature of the dispute. In lord’s court the question is about vertical relationships with the lord. Before king’s judges by royal writ the question is about abstract entitlements, not about the relationship with the lord. Change dispute system about landholding.

+ Jones: Polar opposites – who is right?

  • We do not know for certain – it depends which fits the limited evidence best. ‘Painting by numbers without the numbers’ (Milsom); see which picture best fits and then construct a picture. Both have constructed different pictures.

  • Maybe neither is right.

Criticisms of Milsom’s view: Milsom never really responded to criticisms.

+ Hyams: ‘[I]t may be suggested that Milsom’s model, abstracted from the logic demanded by the common law’s earliest records, is really a mental construct of the late twelfth century. It is more an Angevin lawyers’ ideal of how lordships ought to have been run in the old days than any memory of how they actually were run.’ (P.R.Hyams, (1978) 93 English Historical Review, 856 at 858)

= Milsom’s is an ideal model of how feudal relationships ought to work, than how they did.

Social perception: Conflict between general historians (common sense real people approach) vs. legal historians’ (Milsom and Maitland) insistence upon a strict test for the existence of property.

+ Biancalana: Suggests Milsom has gone too far in revising Maitland, in that Milsom denies entirely/does not take account of the constitutional context of Henry II’s reforms – the context in which the real actions. Milsom simplified the relationship between the king and his barons and so is wrong. Argues the role of the king was perceived differently in diff spheres in the later 12th c. So the king could assert monopoly control over some issues (coinage), but not in relation to disputes over landholding. King could not assert in the context that they were for his jurisdiction.

Suggests guiding principle: pattern of shared jurisdiction between royal and feudal laws. The king has jurisdiction only where the relevant feudal lord has failed to act properly/where there is some default. This justifies royal intervention and also limits royal jurisdiction. Argues one can see this principle at...

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