The Development of English Contract Law

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The development of English Contract Law was massively impacted by Athenian and Roman Law which is by the Twelve Tables in 450 BC. Roman law of contracts where is found in Byzantine emperor Jusatinian’s law where it is called Corpus. Juris Civil (“Body of Civil Law” in AD 529 to AD 565). The law of Twelve Tables has widely has been replaced. The changes, affect in economic, social and legal evolution. Roman legal history has turn upon the classifications and contrast of the Roman Law. The development was lost with disrupt of the Western Empire. The Roman courts and administrators were replaced by fragile and imperfect institution. Initially, because the English court system was so basic and not well advanced a number of methods existed to restrict access to judicial hearings.

Wager of Law whereby Renulf de Glanville in the monograph on the laws and tariffs of the English Kingdom in118. It declared that is people deny the payment of a debt they together with their witnesses, they be commanded to show up in local or manorial court. They risked deception if they lost the case, and this was strong faith to resolve disputes elsewhere.

Trespass on the claim. When the royal courts accepted the claim, beyond the wager of law, if “trespass on the case” was alleged. A jury would called, but to approach the royal courts which were settled by the Magna Carta 1215 to conformed in London. A few back of the King’s peace had to be stated. Otherwise, a breach of compact required production of proof of an agreement from a seal. However, in Bukton v Tounesende (1348) a claim was allowed, without any feature evidence, against Ferryman who drop a horse over board that he was abridge to carry beyond the River Humber. In European Trade, the Magna Carta 1215 guaranteed merchants “safe and secure” exit and entry to England “for buying and selling by the old-fashioned rights and customs. Merchant customs was most famous in the coastal trading ports like London, Boston, Hull and King’s Lynn.

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Lex Mercatoria which says “The Law of the Merchant” is the constitution of commercial law used by merchants throughout the Europe at the same time as medieval period. As a system of custom, it derives similar English Common law and best practice, the main trade routes which were enforced to a system of merchant courts. The main character of medieval lex mercatoria was that it was transnational law, its principle source was mercantile custom, and its procedure was speedy and informal. By the 13th century, at the international trade fares, the merchant courts have been established. In the 12th and 13th centuries, in England it began to diverge of the development of the law of contract on the Continent.

In the Development of the Doctrine of Consideration they had to establish in principle a comprehensive remedy, to limit its scope has been their fundamental. The comparable value not be this consideration, but it must be of some value. In the case of Dyer (1414). In this case Mr. Dyer has promised to plaintiff that won’t do exercise his trade in the same town as the plaintiff for six months, but the plaintiff has promised that he wouldn’t give in return. The plaintiff hadn’t bothered to attend court for hearing. On hearing day, the plaintiff’s trying to accomplish this control, Hull J call out. “In my opinion, you might have demurred upon him that the obligation is void, in as much as the condition is against the common law. By God, if plaintiff were here, he should go to prison until he had paid to the King.”

For a purely broken agreement, some courts remained sceptical that damages might be awarded. Remedies was allowed by other disputes, notably in the case law of Shepton v Dogge (1442). In this case the defendant agreed to sell the land and send it outside London to the buyer. So, she took the money and transfer it to another third party. The buyer sued because of dishonesty. This action can be brought into the city courts by London’s custom. This determine actions in covenant did not require documents under a seal. Specific remedy will be get to normal remedy. The courts awarded damages.

Other than that, in the case law of Slade v Morley (1602), in this case Morley agreed to Slade to buy wheat and rye for €16 which is named Slade grain merchant, but then Morley cancel his decision of buying it. In the Court of Common Pleas, they need to be both proof of a debt and a subsequent promise to repay the debt, so that the defendant can be declare the plaintiff as a fraud because for non-payment. He can have a risk a wager of law if a claimant wanted to simply demand payment of the contractual debt. With a majority in the Exchequer Chamber, after six years Lord Popham CJ held that “every contract importeth in itself as Assumpsit”.

In case law of Bret v JS (1600) a different limit for contract enforcement has been indicated the Common Pleas that “natural affection of itself is not a sufficient consideration to ground an assumpsit.” The Statute of Frauds 1677 suggest that the contract types that were thought should require some form. in the 17th and 18th centuries, the principle of international trade law and custom into English common law were actively incorporated by Sir John Holt, and Lord Mansfield. As Lord Mansfield believed that, ”Merchantile Law is not the law of a particular country but the law of all nations.” But also “the law of merchants and the law of the land is the same”.   

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