The Common Law of England and Wales is one of the major global legal traditions. In order to understand the common law, we need to deal with its history, and the development of its characteristic institutions like the jury, judge made law, parliamentary sovereignty and due process. We also need to ask some critical questions. What role does democracy play in the development of the common law? To what extent are human rights central to the modern common law? How does the common law of England and Wales relate to the law of the European Union? Answering these questions will give us insights into the current challenges the law faces and its possible futures.
One: Dead Kings and Presidents: A Brief History
of the Common Law
Week Two: See You In Court: The Court System and the Common Law
Week Three: Supreme Power: Parliamentary Sovereignty and Law Making
Week Four: Wigs and Pens: Judicial Law Making and the doctrine of Precedent
Week Five: Reading the Riot Act: How Statutes are Interpreted
Week Six: After the War, Before the Peace: The European Union and Human Rights
This course does not require any existing legal knowledge.
The course is designed to be flexible to how people want to learn. We use short videos, discussions and challenges as well as longer lectures, course readings and interactions. People will be able to go through the course at their own pace.
Historically the common law originated in England in the Kings Courts and emerged from the Kings Judges who travelled round the country adopting what they considered to be the best legal rules from each area. The common law has developed through judicial decisions in cases that articulate principles and rules, but one must bear in mind the important role that Parliament plays in enacting statutory laws. .Indeed, in UK common law Parliament is seen as the sovereign law making power. A robust understanding of the common law also requires some knowledge of its distinctive institutions and ideas such as the jury, due process and the centrality of the judge to the trial. .
English Common Law underpins the law in many jurisdictions which in turn have contributed to the evolution of the common law.
No. Most jurisdictions will have their own rules regarding what is required to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister and you should refer to the appropriate bodies in the country where you wish to practice.