Meanwhile, guilty defendants may confess to a more minor offence to avoid more serious charges, which amounts to ‘having people admit to what did not happen in order to avoid charges for what did happen’…"
An unspoken war on the Common Law, Josie Appleton, Spiked, Monday 11 March 2013
For centuries, jurists have argued that the English Common Law is the best for liberty. In the fifteenth century, the judge Sir John Fortescue wrote that English law is ‘not only good but the best’ (1), contrasting the public jury trial of the English court with the torture-ridden, summary and secret proceedings on the Continent. In the 1700s, jurist William Blackstone argued that while Continental law fomented ‘arbitrary and despotic power’, the Common Law preserved the liberty of ‘even the meanest subject’ (2).
This wasn’t just national vanity; the French agreed. Montesquieu held England up as the ‘one nation in the world which has political liberty as the supreme object for its constitution’ (3), while Voltaire wrote that ‘the English are the only people on earth who have been able to prescribe limits to the power of kings by resisting them’ (4).
How times have changed…
[In Full, An unspoken war on the Common Law]