a first book of jurisprudence for students of the common law

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: ministration of justice with some sort of regularity that marks the existence of law, not the completeness of the rules administered, nor any official character of those who administer them. Custom. There has been much discussion about the relation of custom to law. Custom, except in distinctly technical applications which are really part of a developed legal system, seems to have no primary meaning beyond that of a rule or habit of action which is in fact used or observed (we may perhaps add, consciously used or observed) by some body or class of persons, or even by one person. It was the " custom " of Hamlet's father to sleep in his orchard of the afternoon. In the Morte tfArthur we constantly read of a " custom " peculiar to this or that knight; for example, Sir Dinadan had such a custom that he loved every good knight, and Sir Galahalt, " the hault prince," had a custom that he would eat no fish. And it is still correct, though less common than it was, to use the word in this manner. Often custom is the usage of some class or body less extensive than the State, such as the inhabitants of a city, the members of a trade. But it can have a scope much wider than the limits of the State. The Church, which of course is not bounded by any State, and in the medieval viewcould not be, had her own customs and refused to let any secular power pass judgment on their validity. No constant relation to law or judicial authority can be predicated of custom. It may or may not be treated as part of the law. Much law purports to be founded upon custom, and much custom has certainly become law. The extent to which this has happened, and the manner in which it has been brought about, are matters of history in the legal system which each particular State has developed or adopted. We shall have t...
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