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Scholars of comparative law and English legal history have traditionally distinguished the civil law's emphasis on legislation as the primary source of legal authority from the common law's emphasis on custom and on case law. In this text, the author finds little evidence to support this and other traditional understandings of English jurisprudence.;Examining thousands of legal and judicial documents for references to the nature and authority of custom, case law, statutes, equity and reason, J.W. Tubbs depicts the tensions within and the evolution of English legal thought between the 12th and 17th centuries. Most lawyers, he concludes, never thought of all English law as customary in nature and never understood the common law to be a fundamental law, superior to statue. Instead, statute law was much more central to English jurisprudence than has usually been believed and it was always understood to be superior in authority to the common law and its role in statutory interpretation.