THE COMMON LAW OF ENGLAND AND ITS IMPORTANCE TODAY
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© January 2018, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
One of America’s present problems is that few people are taught that the legal context of the founding of America is the English common law. This may sound a bit strange, but it is actually quite critical for the American nation.
The English common law can be defined as a set of mainly unwritten rules and procedures that were developed slowly over the 2000-year history of the British Empire. The common law grew slowly as a result of the decisions of many judges and juries, when faced with a wide variety of legal issues.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE COMMON LAW?
First, and foremost, the English common law is based on the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This is the main principle of the common law that has been completely forgotten today. Without this understanding, American law wallows in strange debates about all sorts of issues.
For example, the Bible is clear about rejecting homosexual relations. This is well known to scholars of the common law. Similarly, abortion is abhorrent in the common law.
Also, the Ten Commandments are sacrosanct, and this has been forgotten today, as well. So, one does not read in the United States Declaration of Independence or the US federal or state Constitutions that one must not murder, steal, lie, rape, or commit adultery. The reason these are not included in the basic “laws of the land” is because they were completely known and accepted at the time of the founding of our nation. However, stupid attorneys today do not realize this, so they debate the issues and often have little basis for their arguments because they are missing the actual legal context for the founding documents of the American nation.
DO THE STATUTES REPLACE THE COMMON LAW?
Attorneys are taught that the common law is not in force any more, and it has been replaced by statutes, or statutory law. Statutes are bills or laws passed by the legislature and signed by the president of the United States.
However, I would say that this is not exactly true. The founders of America never intended that the English common law was to be totally abandoned and replaced by statutes. Indeed, they respected and honored the common law much more than that. Instead, they wished that the common law would be upheld, and perhaps improved upon over time, as it had been over the centuries.
For this reason, I disagree vehemently with those who say the English common law is just an old, discarded legal system that is no longer relevant today. For if this is the case, then the founding documents make no sense at all, and America would need a new set of documents that “starts from scratch”, rather than our present documents which build upon and are firmly based upon centuries of legal tradition in England, mainly, but also in some of the other European nations where the common law developed.