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This book offers an introduction to the English legal system that places the law in its contemporary context. Unlike other conventional accounts, it presents a coherent argument, organised around the central claim that modern law must be understood as
Posted November 8, 2008
It always amazes me that many students and lawyers assume that judges don¿t play politics because the reality is that they do¿ justified by the words ¿common law¿ and ¿policy¿!<BR/><BR/>However, the beauty of our common law system is that the judges don¿t do it overtly, so this book succeeds in answering its basic question- can a revitalized common law address a plural, post colonial future? <BR/><BR/>I came away from the authors¿ conclusion that the answer is `yes¿. It is `yes¿ because the subject has rightly been `reinvented¿ and `re-orientated¿ by them, giving what we all know as a `legal system¿ or `legal method¿ both some coherence and foundation which seemed to be lacking before the Human Rights Act 1998 appeared and changed the legal landscape. <BR/><BR/>For this reason, I welcome the book as a major statement on a twenty-first century evaluation of common law as our own legal system becomes more entwined in EU law, and global legal and financial issues (most certainly the financial ones) appear so much more relevant to all than they once did (in the summer of 2008). <BR/><BR/><BR/>Jack Straw introduced the 1998 Act, and he has now become our Lord Chancellor (in a reorganised post) whilst I write this review. Straw remains very proud of his achievement which he reminded the Conference he considers (rightly) as being one of the main lasting legacies of the Labour Party¿s current term in office from the last three Parliaments - a singular ¿big¿ achievement for the Blair and Brown governments as they have changed the face of law in Britain forever.<BR/> <BR/><BR/>Gearey, Morrison and Jago recognize that the Act has created a more pronounced judicial intervention into politics which is to be expected with its review of administrative actions in the public sector since the Thatcher years. The greatest value of the book for me is that it places our picture of the common law in its contemporary context and reviews our criminal and civil procedures although none of the authors are practising lawyers (probably a good thing, too!)<BR/><BR/><BR/>The common law will always be born out of historical experience (mainly precedent) by its very nature. So, I came away from this book reminded of some of my old political campaigns, mainly against anti EU factions, and I tried to consider the useful practical implications of this work which have opened up a new chapter for all of us: and there are many as the debate opens up. <BR/><BR/>What Gearey, Morrison and Jago have achieved here is the forerunner of a new, stronger debate on the value of the common law in a post Human Rights Act 1998 age which will be upon us shortly as we review the new Green Paper on a `Bill of Rights and Responsibilities¿. We will need to place this debate which has begun here in its new context with the EU, and globally, as the new century takes hold and some of our main legislative codes merge as the main challenge to a globilisation of legal institutions one day in the future.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.