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The essays in this volume are concerned with the traditions that have shaped the common law and the English legal mind through history, notably the profession, its structure, its technical language and its literature. The Inns of Court and chancery are a central issue in the text.
However the author also looks at institutions, such as local courts, which operated on the fringes of the common law, as well as courses in conveyancing provided at Oxford between the 13th- and 15th-centuries, the origins of law reporting and the first identifiable English year-book reporter.
There is also an account of the short-lived practice of reporting criminal cases at Newgate in the early 14th-century and a suggestion that the spread of law reporting on the continent of Europe was begun by Englishmen serving in the 14th-century curia at Avignon.