Lawyers and the Making of English Land Law, 1832-1940

Lawyers and the Making of English Land Law, 1832-1940

Lawyers and the Making of English Land Law, 1832-1940

Lawyers and the Making of English Land Law, 1832-1940

Synopsis

This work offers a new interpretation of how the concepts found in the 1925 property legislation were formed by debates about law reform beginning in the 1880s. Partly the work of modern legal history, partly a commentary on modern English law, this will be of interest to modern legal historians, property lawyers, and historians concerned with the relationship between property and politics.

Excerpt

This is a study spanning three sorts of concern. One is lawmaking. the land law in my title is predominantly land transfer law, with a good dash of ownership thrown in. Legal change came through statute, and this book addresses the conception, formulation, frustrations, and enactment of that form of legal process. Land use law is wholly omitted because its genesis was different; judges played an important part there. Here they are virtually absent, just an occasional extra-judicial pronouncement reminding us of their existence. It is planned and purposive legal change (and resistance to it) which features here, not the outcomes of the accidents of litigation, however significant the pattern they can be made to fit.

A central concern is thus with the law-makers themselves. the law of real property was tough law, always the preserve of specialists. Its reformulation, for whatever purpose and at whosesoever behest, had to involve them. the book looks at them and their kin, but within an examination of the structure of the legal professions and its effect upon law-making. Shortly before the start of my chosen period it would have been legal profession, singular; and the bar would have been meant. Attorneys were tradesmen; and for some quite long time after they had constituted themselves a profession the name stuck. Whether it was just a derogatory name, or whether there was something in the claim that solicitors' 'qualifications', and hence their entry to the hall of the professions, applied to just part of their work is a theme running throughout the book. If Harold Perkin's the Rise of Professional Society had appeared before the bulk of the text had been completed I would have pointed some of my arguments more than I did. I hope that what I have to say about the formation of the solicitors' profession as such, the tensions within it between London and the north of England, its relation to barristers (as will be seen, 'barristers' is more apt than 'the bar') in cooperating and competing over the management of legal change . . .

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