Show MoreA History of English Common Law
The origin of English Common in the 12th century was sparked by the death of King Henry I in 1135. The nephew of Henry I was Stephen, and he was acknowledged to be the rightful king, but the magnates and such had sworn loyalty to Henry’s daughter, Matilda. The entire reign of Stephen, which lasted from 1135 to 1154, was spent fighting with Matilda and her French husband. Upon Stephen’s death the son of Matilda, Henry II, became king in 1154. It was from here on that the King started to take noticeable interest in the dealings of the court system, and put in to place a royal system instead of allowing the lords to deal with all matters in feudal courts.1 According to F. W. Maitland,
…The reign of Henry…show more content…
The treatise called Fleta states that “the Crown asserted a general responsibility for the judicial work of every secular court in the land.” Third, the laws are made in reaction to actual legal controversies, as opposed to the whim of the lawmakers. Fourth, the jury selected becomes increasingly more knowledgeable about the facts and particulars of a certain case. Finally, the supremacy of law is very important to the tradition of common law. All subjects are held responsible for the laws decided, and are all subject to examination. These five principles of common law briefly explain what common law is.6
To differentiate between how the laws of England changed after King Henry II, a comparison of the court system can be used. Local, ecclesiastical, and borough courts decided cases in the old system of English law. Each of these courts could render very different decisions based on the same case and it was acceptable. The common law courts can be listed as Common Pleas, Seignorial courts, King’s Bench, and Exchequer.7
The local courts, or courts of the counties, began to lose their importance as the royal courts, the Common Pleas, began to extend jurisdiction. The people of the area created the local courts; the royalty had nothing to do with it, so these new Common Pleas courts took away certain feelings of local pride. Therefore, these common courts were the most difficult to establish, and for many years many of the hundreds
Common Law And Marriage Essay
Common Law relationships are steadily increasing due to several precipitating events.
Studies, ranging from the 1930's to 1990's, have proven that couples all over the world are choosing to live common law rather than committing themselves through the legal act of marriage. In the last hundred decades marriage was traditionally based upon the women staying home, raising children, while the man went out and earned a living to support the family. This attitude has changed since the 1960's when common law became more prevalent. This form of living is widely used in all generations today; due to women entering the workforce, the sociological changes in the world, and the fact that common law is a much more practical, simple and acceptable way of life.
In the 1970's, common law relationships were formed with the intent to marry.
Statistics show that 75% of couples who engaged in a common law relationship during the 1970's eventually married or separated. (Thompson,2000:98) This reveals that common law was never really seen as an endeavors union to pursue; it was either leading up to marriage or winding down to separation.
When birth control became available, women's pregnancy rates dropped. Their families were not as big; enabling women to enter the work force. This strongly affected husbands and families. Couples no longer stayed together to raise a family, but more or less for sex. Births without marriage bonds became more acceptable. Divorce was occurring because of sexual frustration, constant disagreements about family finances, and the fact that couples were using birth control and consequently no longer having children. (Thompson,2000:102) ). "The majority of Canadians are still expected to marry at least once before their 50th birthday."1 This quotation defines marriage as an experience, one that may not last a lifetime. The marriage rate in 1973 was comparable to the marriage rate during the Great Depression. An increase in single people lead to an increase in the age at which men and women would enter their first marriage. During the 1960's the average age at first marriage was a stable 25 for men and 23 for women, compared to 29 for men and 27 for women in 1992. (Thompson,2000:96) In the late 1930's 2% of the population began their first relationship as a cohabit relationship, whereas in the late 1950's the estimated number was 53%. Overtime, common law has tripled. In 1995, 1 in 7 Canadian couples were living common law compared to 1 in 16 couples in 1981. Into the late 1990's, nearly half of the common law population involved children, sometimes from a previous relationship. (Tevan & Hewitt,2001:270) Couples aged 15 to 24 (generation x) are 30% more likely to enter a cohabitation than 25 to 34 year olds (boomers). In 1990, over one third of marriages amongst Generation-X, boomers...
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