The English law of obligations has developed over most of the last millennium without any major discontinuity. Through this period each generation has built on the law of its predecessors, manipulating it so as to avoid its more inconvenient consequences and adapting it piecemeal to social and economic changes. Sometimes fragments borrowed from other jurisdictions have been incorporated into the fabric of English law; from time to time ideas developed elsewhere have, at least temporarily, imposed a measure of structure on a common law otherwise messy and inherently resistant to any stable ordering. In this book David Ibbetson exposes the historical layers beneath the modern rules and principles of contract, tort, and unjust enrichment. Small-scale changes caused by lawyers successfully exploiting procedural advantages in their clients' interest are juxtaposed alongside changes caused by friction along the boundaries of these principal legal categories; fossilized remnants of old doctrines jostle with newer ideas in a state of half-consistent tension; loose-knit rules of equity developed in the Chancery infiltrate themselves into more tightly controlled Common law structures.
The result is a system shot through with inconsistencies and illogicalities, but with the resilience to adapt as necessary to take account of shifting pressures and changing circumstances.
`... provides a fresh look at many more subjects than most legal historians can have mastered. ... this book will cause readers to rethink their reaction to some present-day legal problems in light of the past. ... [Ibbetson] has given us both a basic treatment of the law of obligations and a considerable number of fresh insights that will enlighten any teacher's understanding and presentation of the subject.'
Legal History (no date)
`Dr Ibbetson has achieved something of a tour de force ... lucid and scholarly historical treatment ... easy to read and attractively presented ... much more than a simple chronological account of the evolution of legal doctrine ...'
Law Quarterly Review April 2001
`masterly review of the substantive law of tort in the Middle Ages ... Compendious though it is, the book is not long, and this is all the more remarkable in that the style is not at all dense, but easy and flowing. The text is replete with well-chosen examples, and the footnotes are informative and stimulating. ... As pleasurable as it is informative, as balanced as it is intelligent, this volume is an invaluable addition to a distinguished
Modern Law Review March 2001
`Review from previous edition A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations is a remarkable book which every lawyer with any interest in the law of obligations should read.'
Prologue: The Prehistory of the English Law of Obligations
I Form and Substance in Medieveal Law
1: Structural Foundations
2: Unity and Fragmentation of the Mediaeval Law of Contract
3: Trespass, Trespass on the Case, and the Mediaeval Law of Tort
4: The Substantive Law of Torts
5: The Substantive Law of Contract
2 The Triumph of Trespass on the Case
6: Tort, Property, and Reputation: the Expansion of the Action on the Case
7: The Rise of the Action of Assumpsit
3 The Modern Law of Tort and Contract
8: Trespass, Case, and the Moral Basis of Liability
9: The Law of Torts in the Nineteenth Century: The Rise of the Tort of Negligence
10: The Law of Torts in the Twentieth Century: Expansion and Collapse of the Tort of Negligence
11: Foundations of the Modern Law of Contract
12: The Rise of the Will Theory
13: The Decline of the Will Theory: Legal Regulation and Contractual Fairness
4 Unjust Enrichment
14: Unjust Enrichment
15: Legal Change and Legal Continuity
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st May 2001
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 15.8
Weight (kg): 0.46
Edition Number: 2