So did English cases from before the American Constitution count as precedent after it was ratified?
Pretty much, yeah. Remember, English law -was- American law at the time.
In fact, if I recall right, Nathan even referred to a pre-USA English case a little while back.
The civil law systems of Europe were put in place by Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars. The Code Civil was originally called the Code Napoleon. Prior to that, many countries in Europe had their own versions of common law.
Romans and the church, actually. And the Germanic codes, too. Napoleon just built on an existing tradition.
What you may be referring to is the adversarial vs. inquisitorial systems. They are often conflated with common vs. civil, but they’re separate concepts. Both western Europe and England had proto-adversarial systems early on, but Europe went inquisitorial in the early middle ages, while England’s common-law courts stuck with the adversarial approach. This is important for reasons we’ll get to in a few pages.
Still, you used all of Great Britain to represent England, including Scotland, and Scotland has its own distinct legal system from English law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_law
Huh? He just used England and Wales in the illustration.
Scotland is under the hat.
This is a minor nitpick, but the anthropomorphic England’s eyes are actually in Wales.
To correct myself, Wales was incorporated into the jurisdiction of England in the 1540s, so it is entirely reasonable to include it in the anthropomorphic England. Shows how well I know the history of my own country…
Even so, it’s just the eye to our left, and it’s barely across the border in Newtown. I doubt the good people of Powys will mind.
Oh, common law, I’m looking forward to learning this.
…that FACE. I will never see England the same way again.