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History of Law

A summary of several past systems of law, leading up to the Canadian Criminal Code.
by

Meggan Crawford

on 10 February 2011

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Transcript of History of Law

History of Law Babylonia Hebrew Greek Roman Byzantine French British Aboriginal Canadian Code of Hammurabi
(1700 BCE) Hammurabi was leader of Babylon saw laws as coming from the gods
the wealthy got more protection from the law patriarchal and hierarchical society
more protection for men - women, children and slaves are property Code included both criminal and civil law
Retribution - no such thing as an accident
Restitution for property damage, theft Punishments:
theft from temple - death
pay 10X amount stolen or die
robbery - death if caught, victim repaid by community if not caught
judges
hierarchy meant people in power often passed punishment to female relatives, slaves, etc. Mosaic Law
(1250 BCE)
(aka Biblical Law, Hebrew Law) similar to Code of Hammurabi in many ways differentiated between intentional acts and accidents protected people (i.e. not kill, honour, etc.) couldn't shift punishment because of high status codified in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament as well as in the Torah or the Pentateuch punishment - stealing - 4/5X amount stolen Draco's Law (621 BCE), Solon's Law (594 BCE) "citizens" voted, served jury duty - juries were very large initially, but numbers were reduced later Even punishments were decided democratically state was responsible for punishment Solon made property ownership equal to rights Restitution for theft
Draco's laws were very harsh - retribution rights limited to citizens, determined by property owned right to trial with a jury of impartial peers Twelve Tablets
(450 BCE) revised laws as needed Most based on retribution
Laws gave victim compensation protected property - i.e. capital offence to destroy a building, corn, or a house by burning (if premeditated) lower class had protection from rulers accused got a legal professional (lawyer) increasing complexity in society led to more laws, especially for issues between citizens laws for contracts, wills, families were created (i.e. fathers had jurisdiction over sons) Jusinian's Code
(529 BCE) Justinian took Roman law and adjusted it, clarified it, and used his new law as basis for civil law used both retribution and restitution
included both criminal and civil law free men are equal (in terms of law at least) Innocent until proven guilty laws to control wills are present Napoleonic Code
(1804 CE) Civil law only
based in retribution meant to be understood by the public all male citizens have equal rights, but women do not have individual rights controlled property, contract, wills, and family issues judges had investigative powers Magna Carta
(1215 CE) included civil and criminal as well as legal rights moved towards establishing individual rights lots of elements to protect property includes Rule of Law habeas corpus present Circuit judges to reach population travelling courts (assizes) Great Binding Law of the Iroquios Confederacy
(1720 CE) civil laws based in retribution laws provided structures for settling disputes Criminal Code
(1892 CE) includes both criminal and civil law based upon retribution and restitution reflect parts of Mosaic, Greek, Roman, French, British law large part of criminal law focused on protecting property and people Rule of Law
Habeas Corups
right to trial by peers
freedom from arbitrary arrest
all guaranteed by the Charter judges rely on rule of precedent
lawyers defend accused
Full transcript