Our English legal system is a common law system that has originated from the Middle Ages.
Since then, this legal system has developed over the centuries to become what it is today.
Not only was it used in England, but also in British colonies around the world such as: the United States, Australia, and Nigeria.
It is crazy to think that our current legal system is based on something established nearly 1000 years ago.
The first formation of any kind of national legal system came about when William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066.
Prior to this, each area in the country had its own differentiated local court.
William the Conqueror was the first monarch to establish and to help evolve the English common law system into what we know today.
After invading England, William needed to organise and demonstrate his control over his new citizens.
To do this he created the King’s Court.
It was made up of the King and his advisors, who travelled across England to give judgement to those who required it.
Although the King’s court does not exist as it was today, it was a starting point for the courts that we have now.
It has led to the development of the Magistrates Court,
Crown Court and the UK Supreme Court, which are widely known in our legal system today.
In 1154, Henry II became King of England, and his development of the English common law system was a result of the widespread discontent and civil war that the country had just been involved in.
He used the legal system to regain stability and to control the country.
He developed the legal system to create a single system of justice that the whole country would use.
There were only 18 judges across England who decided legal cases, and Henry II decided to change how they worked.
He kept 5 judges within London to act on behalf of the King who would have otherwise done so.
The remaining judges were sent to different areas of the country to do the same job.
These judges were widely recognised across England as “travelling justices”, who were sent to apply the laws that had been put in place by the judges in England.
They replaced the local laws with new national laws and further developed the English legal system to what it is today.
Within this time King Henry set out common law. This is the law declared by judges coming from customs and precedent.
It is called common because it applied equally across the land.
To this day it is still the samenational laws are carried out and judged by the courts to act on behalf of the legal system to protect the peace within the country.
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