Common law is a body of unwritten laws based on legal precedents established by the courts. Common law influences the decision-making process in unusual cases where the outcome cannot be determined based on existing statutes or written rules of law.
The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, published in 1628, was the only part of the four volume Institutes to be appear in print during Coke’s lifetime.
Unlike the other three volumes of wholly original writing, it took the form of a commentary on an earlier work, Sir Thomas Littleton’s Tenures.
Littleton’s Tenures was “a brief treatise on the Laws of England in relation to land” first published in 1481.
Coke’s Commentary upon Littleton greatly expanded the original. It was organized into three columns of text: Littleton’s original Law French; Coke’s English translation; and Coke’s commentary.
Coke’s additions to the original text were extensive, and included observations on issues not touched upon by Littleton at all.
The First Part of the Institutes was “in fact a legal encyclopaedia arranged on no plan except that suggested by the words and sentences of Littleton.”
Sir William Blackstone SL KC (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century.
He is most noted for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of England.
Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books.
Notes selected from the editions of Archibold, Christian, Coleridge, Chitty, Stewart, Kerr, and others, Barron Field’s Analysis, and Additional Notes, and a Life of the Author by George Sharswood.
In Two Volumes. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1893). Vol. 1 – Books I & II.