Lectures on the Relation between Law & Public Opinion in England: During the Nineteenth Century

By A. V. Dicey | Go to book overview
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LECTURE II
CHARACTERISTICS OF LAW-MAKING OPINION IN ENGLAND

LET it be here noted once for all that these lectures have a very precise and limited scope; they are primarily concerned with public opinion only during the nineteenth century; they are concerned, directly at least, even for this period, only with that kind of public opinion which, since it has told on the course of legislation, may with strict propriety be called law-making or legislative public opinion, and is recorded either in the statute-book, which contains the laws enacted by Parliament, or in the volumes of the reports, which contain the laws indirectly but not less truly enacted by the Courts. 1

The limited aim of these lectures explains, in the first place, why it is that I have attempted only a very general or broad account of different schools of opinion, e.g. either of individualism or of socialism; 2 fine and subtle distinctions, such as the speculative differences which divide the absolute individualism of Herbert Spencer on the one hand, from the practical or utilitarian individualism of J. S. Mill and H.

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1
As to judicial legislation and public opinion, see Lect. XI. post.
2
In these lectures generally termed "collectivism." See Lect. IV. p. 64post.

-17-

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