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Shaping the Common LawFrom Glanvill to Hale, 1188-1688$
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Thomas Garden Barnes and Allen D. Boyer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804757140

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804757140.001.0001

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Michael Dalton

Michael Dalton

Chapter:
(p.136) Chapter Nine Michael Dalton
Source:
Shaping the Common Law
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804757140.003.0010

This chapter focuses on Michael Dalton's The Countrey Justice, extrinsic merits of which make the case for its status as a classic work of legal literature. First, The Countrey Justice provides the most comprehensive and readily obtainable introduction to seventeenth-century English criminal law, both at common law and by statute, available. Second, it opens for the discerning reader a singular institution without parallel elsewhere—lay magistracy—at a critical juncture in its history with long-lasting results for the common law's understanding of justice and the rule of law, and for Anglo-American constitutionalism. Third, and finally, in substance and in form The Countrey Justice proved to have at least modest influence on the early development of the law in the New World, making it one of a handful of English legal works with direct applicability to early American colonial law.

Keywords:   common law, Countrey Justice, English criminal law, lay magistracy, justice, rule of law, constitutionalism, American colonial law

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