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Picture of A Study in Legal History Volume I

A Study in Legal History Volume I

Fiat Justitia: Lord Denning and the Common Law

Author(s): Charles Stephens

Book Description

Writing about Lord Denning in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Lord Goff wrote that ‘Denning was a great master of the common law….he was one of the greatest and most influential judges ever to sit on the English bench….few would dispute that Denning was the greatest English judge of the twentieth century’. Lord Goff added that Lord Denning ‘taught the English judiciary that the common law cannot stand still [but] must be capable of development on a case by case basis; to ensure that the principles of the common law are apt to do practical justice in a living society’.

Fiat Justitia is concerned with Lord Denning’s place in the common law tradition, as defined by Fortescue, Coke and Blackstone. Lord Denning’s approach to the role of the Judge, and the use of judicial discretion, set in the context of the common law tradition, and the assessments of his contemporaries, is evaluated with particular attention being paid to his understanding of precedent, statutory interpretation, individual rights and control of the abuse of power. Lord Denning’s jurisprudence, as an expression of the common law tradition, is also considered in relation to current developments in the law.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-1244-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-1244-7
Date of Publication: 01/09/2009
Pages / Size: 210 / A5
Price: £39.99


Charles Stephens was educated at Shrewsbury School and New College Oxford, of which he was a Scholar. He has been awarded an MA in Modern History by the University of Oxford and an LLB and PhD by the University of London. He is currently a Lecturer in Law at the Open University and Head of Politics at Queen’s College, Harley Street. Since 1985, he has been engaged in research on the history of Britain between 1945 and 1979. His study of the jurisprudence of Lord Denning is the first fruits of that research.