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How may statutes be divided ?
Into (i.) public, which is a universal rule affecting the whole community; (ii.) private, which are exceptions and merely affect particular persons or private concerns.
The latter are sub-divided into (i.) local, such as an enclosure act, which merely affects a particular locality; (ii.) personal, as a naturalization act, only affecting a particular person.
It might be noticed that 13 & 14 Vict. c. 21, enacts that all statutes passed after the then next stated session, are public acts, unless otherwise declared.
Statutes may also be considered as declaratory, penal, and remedial. Distinguish between them. They are : (i.) Declaratory in cases of doubt or difficulty, as to what is
really the law on the point ; (ii.) Penal, as the game laws, which simply point out the
various penalties for the offence; and (iii.) Remedial, when they supply the defects and superfluities
of the Common Law, which may have arisen from time
or change of legislation. What are the rules for the construction of Acts of Parliament ? (i.) They operate from the date they receive the royal assent,
unless otherwise mentioned ; or in other words, statutes
do not operate retrospectively as a general rule. (ii.) The construction must be according to the intents, and
with reference to the object for which such statute was
passed, not according to the mere letter. (iii.) In the construction the judges must consider (1) the old
law; (2) the mischief ; (3) the remedy. (iv.) The construction of remedial statutes is to be liberal, that
of penal, strictly followed. (v.) All other statutes, which have been passed in pari
materiâ, must be considered. (vi.) General words cannot extend statutes treating of in
feriors, to superiors. (vii.) The Common Law supplies general provisions of
statutes, with every necessity to render them effectual. (viii.) A subsequent statute may repeal a prior one by implica
tion, which it always does so far as the latter is contrary
to the former. (ix.) If a statute repealing a prior one is itself repealed, the
former is not revived unless words are added to that
effect. (x.) Statutes derogating from the power of subsequent Par
liaments are not binding.
What was the origin of Equity ?
To moderate the rigour of both the unwritten and the written law in matters of private right, and also to assist, moderate, and explain the preceding rules of interpretation and construction.
From what time does a statute begin to operate ? What was formerly the rule on this subject ?
In the absence of a fixed period mentioned in such statute, from the time it receives the royal assent. (33 Geo. III. c. 13.) Formerly, in absence of provision to the contrary, a statute operated retrospectively from the first day of the session of Parliament in which it passed.
THE COUNTRIES SUBJECT TO THE LAWS OF ENGLAND.
What countries are governed by the Laws of England ?
At the Common Law the kingdom of England, which is governed by our Municipal Laws, did not include Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or Berwick-on-Tweed, though they had in most respects communion as regarded local customs, &c.
How was Wales subjected to the Laws of England ?
Wales was originally conquered by Edward I., but it was not admitted to a thorough communion and equalization of laws until the reign of Henry VIII., when it was enacted by 27 Henry VIII. c. 26, that (i.) The dominion of Wales should be for ever united with
the kingdom of England. (ii.) That all Welshmen born should have the same liberties
as other the King's subjects. (iii.) That lands in Wales should be inheritable according to
the English tenures and rules of descent. (iv.) That the laws of England, and no other, should be used in Wales ;
and (v.) By 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. c. 26, it was divided into twelve
shires, exclusive of the county of Monmouth, which had been made by the previous statute a county of
England. And it ought to be remembered that Wales is included in the word “England” in any Act of Parliament. See also 1 Will. IV. c. 70, abolishing the Courts of Great Session, and regulating the Assizes, and 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 45, as to returning members for Wales.
How is Scotland affected by Municipal Laws ?
Scotland was annexed to England by James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, but it was not actually united with England until the Act of Union, 6 Anne, c. 11, May 1, 1707.
Notwithstanding the union, Scotland retains its own Municipal Laws, though subject to regulation by the British Parliament; but it must be remembered that all statutes passed since the Union, of a general nature, extend to Scotland, though not mentioned, or if it is not to be included it must be so declared.
State the principal Articles of the Union between England and Scotland in 1707; and give the purport of Blackstone's observations
1. On and after May, 1707, England and Scotland to be
united into one kingdom, by the name of Great
Britain. 2. The succession to the monarchy of Great Britain should
be the same as was before settled with regard to that
of England. 3. The United Kingdom should be represented by one
Parliament. 4. There should be a communication of all rights and privi
leges between the subjects of both kingdoms, except
as otherwise agreed. 9. When England raises £2,000,000 by a land tax, Scotland
shall raise £48,000. 16, 17. The standards of the coin, of weights, and of mea
sures, shall be reduced to those of England through
out the United Kingdoms. 18. The laws in Scotland and England relating to trade cus
toms and excise shall be the same. But all other laws in Scotland shall remain in force, alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain. Laws relating to public policy are alterable at the discretion of Parliament. Laws as to private right are not to be altered, but for the evident utility of the people of
Scotland. 22. Sixteen peers are to represent the peerage of Scotland
in Parliament, and forty-five members are to sit in the House of Commons, which number of commoners
has now been raised to sixty. 23. The sixteen peer have all privileges of Parliament, and
peers of Scotland shall be peers of Great Britain, and rank next after those of the same degree at the time of the Union, and shall have all privileges of peers except sitting in the House of Lords, and voting on the trial of a peer.
Upon the Articles and Acts of Union, Blackstone observes : (i.) That the kingdoms can never be disunited again, except
by mutual consent, or the successful resistance of
either. (ii.) The two Churches of England and Scotland remain the
same as before the Union, and the maintenance of the Acts of Uniformity establishing our common
prayer. (iii.) That no alteration can be made in the two Churches,
unless by mutual consent, or in the liturgy of the
Church of England. (iv.) The Municipal Laws of Scotland to be still observed
there, unless altered by Parliament, and as a rule the Municipal Laws in England are of no avail in Scotland. Acts of Parliament passed since the Union extend to
Scotland, although not expressed. How is Berwick affected ?
The town was originally part of Scotland; was conquered by Edward I. ; its constitutions were re-modelled and put upon an English footing by James I.; therefore, though it has derived some ancient local peculiarities from Scotland, it is bound by all Acts of the British Parliament only mentioning“ England.”
How is Ireland affected ?
Ireland was conquered by Henry II., who was called only Dominus Hiberniæ, and such was the title of its English rulers until Henry VIII. adopted the title of king. It is a distinct subordinate kingdom, governed by the Common Law of England, and, since the union 1st of January, 1801, bound by modern Acts of Parliament, whether mentioned or not, unless expressly excepted, or there be a clear intention.
Ireland has its own Courts of Justice, with an appeal to the English House of Lords.
Are the Island of Man and the Channel Islands affected by English Laws ?
The Island of Man is a territory distinct from England, formerly granted to private individuals, but finally purchased by the Crown in 1765. It is governed by its own laws passed by the House of Keys, and no English process, save Habeas Corpus, is of any avail there; neither is it bound by modern Acts of Parliament unless specially included.
The Channel Islands, i.e., Jersey, Guernsey, Aldemey, and Sark, are in the same way governed by their own laws, which are mostly old Norman customs embodied in Le Grand Coustumier. Her Majesty's Commission is alone of any force therein, but no English writs or other process. These Islands are not bound by modern Acts of Parliament unless specially included; and the cases are heard before their own officials, called Bailiffs and Jurats, with an ultimate appeal to the sovereign in council.
By whom were the Channel Islands united to the Crown ?
The Channel Islands were united to the Crown of England by the first princes of the Norman line.
How are the Colonies differently affected by the English Laws ?
It entirely depends whether they are obtained by occupancy, cession, or conquest. Taking for example our colonies in America, Australia, and the West Indies, occupants of our colonies take into them only so much of our law as is applicable to the situation.
Assuming the country to have been gained by conquest or ceded, they originally had their own laws, therefore they remain subject to our Parliament altering or changing those laws, except in the event of the original laws being against the Law of God. See also the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 6 & 7 Vict. c. 94, and 28 & 29 Vict. c. 63.
How are Colonies usually acquired? How far does an Act of Parliament passed before, or after, the acquisition of a Colony respectively affect the laws of that Colony ? Does the mode of acquisition of the Colony make any difference?
As above stated, by right of occupancy, by cession, or conquest. In the case of a colony acquired by occupancy, Acts of Parliament passed before its acquisition come into force immediately upon that event as part of the general law of England, as to all provisions at least not . unsuitable to its social circumstances. But a colony won by conquest or cession is not in general affected by statutes of the United Kingdom passed before its acquisition.
What is the jurisdiction of the Courts of Admiralty and the Common Law respectively over the High Seas ?
Over the main sea, which begins at low water mark, the Court of Admiralty has sole jurisdiction. The Courts of Admiralty and the Common Law jurisdictions alternate between high and low water mark. Into how many divisions is the territory of England divided ? (i.) The Ecclesiastical, which consist of the two provinces of
Canterbury and York, and each of which is again sub-divided into (1) dioceses; (2) arch-deaconries ;
(3) rural deaneries; and (4) parishes. (ii.) The Civil, which is again sub-divided into (1) counties,