Fal Exam Notes

relevance of legal history

Patrick Parkinson - Tradition and Change in Australian law  "The legal and poltiical institutions of Australia find their roots not in the traditions of its native inhabitants, but in the traditions of a colonial power which imported its understanding of law (...) in 1788".
Australia is an independent member of the international community.
To understand Australia's legal roots is to understand Australia's current system. 
the Australian experience cannot be considered in isolation from that of other Commonwealth countries. 


Watershed date in legal history
The conquest of England by William, the Duke of Normandy
 set in motion a chain of events resulting in common law.
Pre-Conquest legal system was sophisticated BUT there were different customs in force in different parts of the England. 
Eventually common rules and common norms were established to apply to all citizens. 

nature of early institutions of feudal system, main features of feudal system, when was it in place? how long it last? what did it transition to?

System of land ownership based upon a formal heirarchy. 
King at the top who had domonion over all the lands in the kingdom. 
Then land-owning nobles. 
Then levels of sub-tenants. 
Lowest, land-owning freemen. 
Mutual promise- oath of allegiance to the king and level above (share of crops, military service if necessary) and in return a promise to protect and assist in time of need.
King couldn't control such a large kingdom and thus this system helped in keeping subjects loyal
Feudal system of land tenure formed the basis of eng property law to 1921. 

Stare decisis 

William and his successors would travel and 'hold court, and receive petitions from the people'. 
Often people complained about acts of injustice and, in responce and because they had no local knowledge, the premise upon which king/delegates dealt with petitions was that like cases should be treated alike. 
That was...