Making law in mid-eighteenth-century England: legal statutes and their application in the justicing notebook of Phillip Ward of Stoke Doyle

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

This article analyses the notebook of an eighteenth-century magistrate, Philip Ward. As Ward was especially diligent in recording the rationale behind his decision-making, it offers a unique insight into the summary process. The article considers the nature of the business that Ward dealt with and the amount of discretion he exercised in making his decisions. Throughout it draws upon the growing body of work on the role of the magistracy in the eighteenth century while also engaging with the long standing debate about the use of the law in the period. Importantly, since Ward was operating before Richard Burn published the first edition of his guide for JPs this particular magistrate drew upon his own legal experience and his father’s extensive law library. So while Ward was not making up the law as he went along he was working out how to apply it to the hearings that came before him. Thus this article will be of keen interest to historians of crime and the law as well as those interested in the social relations of the period
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)211-233
Number of pages23
JournalThe Journal of Legal History
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • JP
  • justice of the peace
  • Oundle
  • Ward
  • crime
  • summary justice
  • law

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