The Kings and the Law, 1154–1217
DOI link for The Kings and the Law, 1154–1217
The Kings and the Law, 1154–1217 book
Between the accession of Henry II to the English throne in 1154 and the death of King John in 1216, a wide range of changes was made to the way the English systems of criminal and civil justice functioned. It has been traditional to see these changes as having marked a sudden and dramatic advance in the development of the English Common Law. However, there was a good deal of continuity between the systems of justice administered at the start of the twelfth century by Henry I and at the start of the thirteenth by John. And, though much of what happened to English legal theory and practice between 1154 and 1217 was hugely significant, it is not clear that the changes formed part of a developed or coherent plan of reform. The changes were piecemeal responses to particular needs, and whilst their effects were momentous in the long term, they were not preconceived. Indeed, there were no obvious changes to the legal system for the first few years of the reign, and the period of reform can be said to have begun in earnest only with the publication of the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164.