Instructor(s): Simon Stern

An introduction to the history of the common law, emphasizing the development of criminal and civil procedure from the 11th century to the 19th century. Topics include:  (1) the jury system – medieval origins, separation of petty and grand juries, changes in the function and composition of the jury from medieval to modern times, the varieties of jury control; (2) civil justice – the forms of actions and the pleading system; attorneys, bar, and bench; the regular and itinerant courts; legal education, law reporting, and the legal treatise; the evolution of contract law; Chancery, the trust, equitable procedure and remedies; the fusion of law and equity; the codification movement; historical perspectives on the right to a jury trial; (3) criminal justice – medieval criminal procedure; presentment and indictment; the recasting of criminal procedure in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the officialization of prosecution and policing; Star Chamber; defence counsel and the rise of the adversary system in the eighteenth century; the privilege against self-incrimination; the law of evidence; criminal sanctions.

Students may choose between 2 options: (1) a 2-hour exam + a short research paper (2,500-word maximum) on a topic of your choosing; or (2) a longer research paper (approx. 6,250-7,500 words) on a topic of your choosing. Note: The default mode of evaluation for this course is Option 1. Students who plan to write a longer paper must have topic approval from the instructor and notify the Records Office by November 1.
Academic year
2019 - 2020

At a Glance

First Term
Perspective course



40 JD


M: 2:10 - 3:25
W: 2:10 - 3:25