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History of Law

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Heather Miller

on 31 October 2014

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Transcript of History of Law

1000 BC
1 AD
2000
2050 BC
1000
The History of Law
2050 BC: Ur-Nammu's Code
Earliest known written legal code, included:
- specialized judges
- the giving of testimony under oath
- power to the judges to make guilty party pay
damages to the victim
- allowed for dismissal of corrupt men
- protection for the poor
- punishment system (where punishment was
proportionate to the crime)

Provided a foundation for future laws and judicial systems
1300 BC: The 10 Commandments
A list of 10 laws sent as a code of living from God stating:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images
3. Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
5. Honor thy father and thy mother
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods

450 BC - The Twelve Tables
- Laws extracted from tribal customs and passed by
patricians
(upper class), and then by an assembly of
plebians
(common class).
Became pillars of Roman law
Values: -Public prosecution of crimes
-Protected plebes from the legal abuses
of the ruling class (enforcement of debt)
- Judges found to have accepted bribes
in exchange for a decision, shall be put
to death
- injured parties could seek compensation
530 BC - Solon's Laws
1804 - Napoleonic Civil Code
1791 - American Bill of Rights
- Guarantees citizens of the United States: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to trial by one's peers (jury), protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and unreasonable searches or seizures
- The 10 Commandments have been incorporated into the modern legal system of most free and democratic countries (including Canada)

- Many of the 10 Commandments evolved into modern laws (ex: modern society condemns murder and theft)


Influence
1760 BC: Hammurabi's Code of Laws
Laws set by Mesopotamian King Hammurabi to set a universal code of law for all conquered people

- Concept of "
an eye for an eye
" for punishment
- members of the upper class often received
harsher punishments than commoners
- over 300 property rights for landowners,
slavemasters, merchants, and builders
were established
- Women and children were offered
protection under the law
Influence
The Hammurabi Code of Law addressed many areas which evolved into modern law including:
- property rights
- labor laws
- divorce laws
-child custody
-bankruptcy protection
Influence: Law-making system influenced Canadian parliament (House of Commons, Senate), impartial judges
1982 - Charter of Rights and Freedoms
1689 - The English Bill of Rights
1215 - English Common Law
- Acted as a guideline to what would
later become the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms
1931 - Parliamentary Supremacy
1206: The Yasak of Genghis Khan
- 1931: Statue of Westminister = Canada became independent from British law

- Parliament became the highest authority
and any decree passed by Parliament
was the law, parliament could
decide what was legal or not
- Canadian constitution reformed; important human rights declared so that no laws could be passed that violated them.

Includes: Fundamental freedoms,
democratic rights, mobility rights,
legal rights, equality rights, official
languages of Canada, and enforcement
- evolved from Roman Law, based on "civil code", adopted in France after French revolution

- Covered only matters of private law: legal attributes of a person, relationships, property, legal institutions governing/administering relationships

- Became model for Civil Law
system in Quebec
- Traditional law, law evolved from decisions of English courts during Norman Conquest in 1066

- relied on
precedents
(earlier decisions which are used in future cases of similar nature)

- Common law is applied in most
countries settled/ruled by British
- Law in all provinces (excluding Quebec)
is based on Common Law

1694 - Triennial Act
-Prevented King of England from dissolving Parliament at his will and stated that elections had to be held every 3 years

- In Canada: The Prime Minister
can't dissolve Parliament at his
own will must ask the Governor
General to do so for him
- Federal Elections must be held
every 5 years (section 4 of Charter of
Rights and Freedoms)


- Set out limits for the Royal Family, designed to control power of kings and queens and make them subject to laws passed by Parliament
- Significant move from the rule of
man to the rule of law

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
(section 15): "every individual is equal
before and under the law..." - Canadian law
applies to everyone and authority is not immune


1215 - The Magna Carta
- Conceded legal rights (freedom of the Church, fair taxation, controls over imprisonment) to the people of England
- Contained 61 clauses including: #39: "No freeman shall be captured or imprisoned ... except by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land"

- Outline of what would later
become the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms
(Clause #39 = section 9 of Charter)
- Genghis Khan created laws for a
consolidated Mongolian state
- Didn't pretend to derive it's authority
from divine sources and didn't
exclude himself from the Yasak
Laws included:
- All religions were to be treated with respect (
one of the first legal systems to give that right, Section 2 of Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
- Property of the deceased went to caregivers (
inheritance laws
)
- Members of army had to atleast be 20
(to join Canadian army you must atleast be 17 - no child soldiers)
- No one was convicted of crime unless they were found guilty or confessed
(Section 11 of Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
Solon was selected by Athenians to solve disputes between the rich and the poor
Created new laws:
Right of representation, right to appeal to a jury,
law of wills and estates, dowries prohibited,
capital punishment only allowed for serious reasons

New drafting technique: To address a sensitive subject a technical name was given to it and it was dealt with under that banner
1867 - British North America Act
1865 - Colonial Laws Validity Act
1774 - The Quebec Act
- Stated that property and civil rights
in Quebec were to be under the
influence of Canadian law

- For criminal law, the law of
England would apply
- Law passed by British Parliament stating that any law of a British colony that differed with a British law aimed specifically at this colony was void

-Set aside the older rule that
colonial laws that were
inconsistent with English
common law could be set
aside.
- Gave citizens the right to elect their own law-making bodies (legislatures)

-Law making powers
were divided up
between federal and
provincial government
1663 - Creation of the Sovereign Council
- Replaced old formation
of a local council and power
was given to mandate all
laws and regulations of French
law in New France

-First property tax introduced (tithe)
1763 - Royal Proclamation
- Provided a foundational structure for negotiations and treaties between Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Heather Miller
2-4
October 31st 2014
Full transcript