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The Law of Habeas Corpus - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Law of Habeas Corpus

Judith Farbey, Robert Sharpe, and Simon Atrill


Habeas corpus is the principal means under the common law for the protection of personal liberty. By this ancient writ, the court assumes control over the body of a prisoner so it can discharge him or her to freedom if no proper legal cause can be shown for detention. Habeas corpus secures release from any form of unlawful custody, whether decreed by the highest powers of the state or imposed by the lowest slave-trader. Its reach is as diverse as the forms of confinement. Throughout its history, it has proved adept at adapting to new challenges. It extends beyond the prison wall and has been i ... More

Keywords: habeas corpus, common law, personal liberty, court, prisoner, detention, custody, confinement, rule of law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199248247
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248247.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Judith Farbey, author
Barrister, Doughty St. Chambers

Robert Sharpe, author
Ontario Court of Appeal

Simon Atrill, author
Barrister, Fountain Court Chambers