The Court of Star Chamber

The brief history of The Court of Star Chamber.

The Court of Star Chamber
The Court of Star Chamber

“To name a case a ‘Star Chamber proceeding’ now is a dreadful insult—an accusation of severe procedural injustice and misuse of power,” writes legal expert Elizabeth G. Thornburg. However, the true narrative of the Court of Star Chamber is far more convoluted.” Historians date the Court of Star Chamber’s origins to the latter part of the fourteenth century, and attribute its name to the chamber’s ceiling, which is ornamented in the medieval style with gold-painted stars, according to one idea.

The Court of Star Chamber arose as an outgrowth of the King’s Council, through which individuals may seek legal assistance not available in current courts, allowing the poor to pursue claims against the wealthy.

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The Statutes of Westminster 1275 – England

The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster 1275

Edward I (1239–1307)

The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster
The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster

We now use the term statute to refer to an act or, as Black’s Legislation Dictionary defines it, “a law passed by a legislative body.” However, as English historians H. G. Richardson and George Sayles demonstrate, that term was not widely used until the late fourteenth century. Enactments were previously referred to as provisions or établissements.

King Edward I convened his first parliament at Westminster in 1275, shortly after returning from the Ninth Crusade and ascending to the throne, and produced the first Statute of Westminster, with fifty-one clauses in Anglo-Norman (Old French) covering a wide range of substantive legal areas as well as the administration of justice. Because it offered common rights to all and free elections, English historian William Stubbs dubbed the act “nearly a code by itself” in 1877. Law historian George Crabb commended Edward I’s work at the time, naming him “the English Justinian.”

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Magna Carta Great Charter – 1215 King Henry I

The Magna Carta 1215 – King Henry I of England

The Magna Carta ("great charter")
The Magna Carta (“great charter”)

When King Henry I of England ascended to the throne in 1100, he issued (and then largely ignored) the Charter of Liberties, or Coronation Charter, which redressed abuses of power by his brother William II by establishing royal directives regarding barons of the realm and church offices, among other things.

A century later, Henry’s great-grandson John had lost the majority of his French holdings, as well as a large sum of money, in an attempt to reclaim them. He taxed the barons in 1214 to fund an ultimately futile military campaign in France. The following year, a number of lords revolted, enraged by John’s frequent abuses of feudal and common law. The king agreed to sign The Magna Carta (“great charter”) at Runnymede, between Windsor and the rebels’ camp at Staines.

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Lex Mercatoria c. 1200 Norms and Practices

Lex Mercatoria Commercial Norms and Practices

Lex Mercatoria Merchant
Lex Mercatoria Merchant

Trade expanded and commerce flourished in the thirteenth century as the Renaissance swept from southern Europe. Merchants created an informal set of rules based on their own commercial norms and practices as their firm grew. These laws, known as the lex mercatoria, or merchant law, established the standard for settling commercial disputes in merchant courts that emerged along key trade routes. Uniform rules minimized uncertainty among international merchants conducting business in the area, which was one of its main benefits.

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The Assize of Clarendon 1166 King Henry II

The Assize of Clarendon 1166

Henry II (1133–1189)

The Assize of Clarendon
The Assize of Clarendon

The modern-day grand jury can be traced back to a royal hunting lodge in twelfth-century England, according to historians. The Assize of Clarendon was promulgated by King Henry II in Clarendon Palace in Wiltshire, laying the groundwork for one of the most important procedural aspects of criminal law.

In the past, anyone in England may charge someone with a crime, however the victim of the crime was usually the one who pursued the charges. In 1166, Henry II established the Assize of Clarendon to strengthen the crown’s authority by displacing ecclesiastical tribunals.

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Canon Law and the Decretum Gratiani 1140

Canon Law and the Decretum Gratiani 1140

Gratian (c.1110–c. 1158)

Canon Law and the Decretum Gratiani
Canon Law and the Decretum Gratiani

Most people associate canon law with the Catholic Church because of its religious origins and nature. While canon law is primarily concerned with worship, clergy, and the Church, it also has secular legal implications. Legal historians have praised it as an important aspect of the Western legal system.

Much of Europe operated under two legal systems beginning in the late eleventh and early twelve centuries: Roman law and canon law. The two systems competed but also complimented one other, and the former affected the latter. Canon law has its beginnings in ecclesiastical ideas and Church teachings, but it has now expanded to embrace secular matters.

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The Quran 652 – The sacred scripture of Islam

The Quran 652

The Quran
The Quran

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) (c. 570–632)

The sacred scripture of Islam is the foundation of Islamic law, often known as Sharia. The prophet Muhammad (pbuh), according to religious tradition, received his first revelation near Mecca in 610 and continued to receive them until his death. His followers committed his words and acts to memory, and scribes assembled them into the Quran after his death.

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