In this book, Michael Lobban argues that a proper understanding of English law and jurisprudence in the period is needed to clarify the nature of common-law practice and the way in which it was envisaged by its practitioners. He questions some commonly-accepted views of the nature of the common law itself and argues that attempts - notably those by Blackstone and Bentham - to expound or to criticize common law in essentially theoretical terms were mistaken. His approach is not a philosophically-based one, but he is concerned with the evolution and spread of judicial ideas which were grounded upon the work of moral and political philosophers, and makes a valuable corrective contribution to our historical understanding of a critically important period in legal history.
`the book which Dr. Lobban has written will prove highly valuable to legal philosophers and historians alike'
The Cambridge Law Journal
`Distinguished recent works by Lieberman and Postema within the territory covered by this book have sought to add a third element - jurisprudence - to the creative tension posited between external social forces and internal development of legal doctrine ... Michael Lobban's book deserves to stand alongside these works both in terms of its scholarship and for its similarly supple solutions to complex problems of method ... Lobban's fascinating description of
how the procedures operated demonstrates in detail the paradoxes behind the common law.'
History of Political Thought
'The Common Law and English Jurisprudence offers a sound historical and bibliographical context for the theories of Blackstone, Bentham and Austin; and those students (and colleagues) showing a not untypical concern for the 'remoteness' of jurisprudential enquiry could usefully be directed to this work ... impressive work ... an admirable contribution to the history of legal thought and to the study of legal writing between Blackstone and Austin. Michael
Lobban appears to have a mature feel for the legal literature of the period under discussion. The student of jurisprudence will be able to read this book with profit.'
Peter J. Cook, University of Birmingham, The Journal of Legal History, Vol. 13, No. 2, Aug. 1992
'Lobban's thesis is complex and highly original; he is persuasive in arguing for a wholesale revision in historical understanding of nineteenth-century legal evolution.'
A.W. Brian Simpson, University of Michigan Law School, Journal of British Studies, January 1993
'Lobban's reading of Bentham is highly stimulating since it shows how contemporaries took up individual Benthamite notions without adopting his political programme for complete codification. '
German Historical Institute London Bulletin, Volume XVI, No. 1, February 1994
`Lobban's reading of Bentham is highly stimulating.'
German Historical Institute Bulletin
`Lobban covers a formidably wide range of material and gives clever, confident commentary on all the literature he reviews. His book is most valuable for the fresh light which his study of the practical aspects of the common law throws on the theories of Blackstone, Bentham and Austin.'
EHR, Nov 1994