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Wildy’s Book News

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Vol 24 No 4 April/May 2019

Book of the Month

Cover of Professional Conduct Casebook 3rd ed: Digital Pack

Professional Conduct Casebook 3rd ed: Digital Pack

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Justice and Mercy: Moral Theology and the Exercise of Law in Twelfth-Century England

ISBN13: 9781526125347
Published: November 2018
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £75.00

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This book examines one of the most fundamental issues in twelfth-century English politics: justice. It demonstrates that during the foundational period for the common law, the question of judgement and judicial ethics was a topic of heated debate - a common problem with multiple different answers. How to be a judge, and how to judge well, was a concern shared by humble and high, keeping both kings and parish priests awake at night.

Using theological texts, sermons, legal treatises and letter collections, the book explores how moralists attempted to provide guidance for uncertain judges. It argues that mercy was always the most difficult challenge for a judge, fitting uncomfortably within the law and of disputed value. Shining a new light on English legal history, Justice and mercy reveals the moral dilemmas created by the establishment of the common law.

Legal History
Prologue: the vanishing adulteress
1. Introduction
2. The problem with mercy: theology
3. The problem with mercy: law
4. Twelfth-century models of justice and mercy
5. Who should be merciful?
6. Judgement in practice: the church
7. Histories of justice: the crown, persuasion and lordship
8. Love your enemies? Popular mercy in a vengeance culture
9. Conclusion