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Priests of the Law – Roman Law and the Making of the Common Law's First Professionals - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Priests of the Law: Roman Law and the Making of the Common Law's First Professionals

Thomas J. McSweeney


Priests of the Law tells the story of the first people in the history of the common law to think of themselves as legal professionals: the group of justices who wrote the celebrated treatise known as Bracton. It offers a new interpretation of Bracton and its authors. Bracton was not so much an attempt to explain or reform the early common law as it was an attempt to establish the status and authority of the king’s justices. The justices who wrote it were some of the first people to work full-time in England’s royal courts, at a time when they had no obvious model for the legal professional. Th ... More

Keywords: common law, civil law, Roman law, lawyers, judges, Bracton, medieval England, case law, ius commune

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198845454
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198845454.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Thomas J. McSweeney, author
Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School