Local custom in the early common law
in Law, laity and solidarities
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Most legal historians would date the emergence of a recognizable English 'Common Law' to the last quarter of the twelfth century. It was during this period that King Henry II and his advisers created the first of a new type of royal court in England. The common law courts were clearly not invincibly hostile to the continuance of local custom. Indeed they were willing on occasion to accept and enforce it. The general effect of the 'professionalisation' and centralisation of the legal system was obviously a nationwide standardisation of norms, the development of a 'common law' for England as a whole. But the system evidently remained sufficiently flexible to allow the continuance and enforcement of some local custom both at the county level, and at a much more local level, as well.

Law, laity and solidarities

Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds

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