This category has the following 4 subcategories, out of 4 total.
This category has the following 4 subcategories, out of 4 total.
1. Code of Hammurabi – The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code of ancient Mesopotamia, dating back to about 1754 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world, the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a seven and a half foot stone stele and various clay tablets. The code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting an eye for an eye, nearly one-half of the code deals with matters of contract, establishing, for example, the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of a builder for a house collapses, for example. A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family such as inheritance, divorce, paternity. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official, this establishes that a judge who reaches an incorrect decision is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently. A few provisions address issues related to military service, the code was discovered by modern archaeologists in 1901, and its editio princeps translation published in 1902 by Jean-Vincent Scheil. This nearly complete example of the code is carved into a basalt stele in the shape of an index finger,2.25 m tall. The code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, using cuneiform script carved into the stele, Hammurabi ruled for nearly 42 years, from about 1792 to 1749 BC according to the Middle chronology. On the stone slab are 44 columns and 28 paragraphs that contained 282 laws, some of these laws follow along the rules of an eye for an eye. It had been taken as plunder by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte in the 12th century BC and was taken to Susa in Elam where it was no longer available to the Babylonian people. The Code of Hammurabi was one of several sets of laws in the ancient Near East, the code of laws was arranged in orderly groups, so that all who read the laws would know what was required of them. These codes come from similar cultures in a small geographical area. The Code of Hammurabi is the longest surviving text from the Old Babylonian period, the code has been seen as an early example of a fundamental law, regulating a government — i. e. a primitive constitution. The code is one of the earliest examples of the idea of presumption of innocence. However, its copying in subsequent generations indicates that it was used as a model of legal and judicial reasoning, the Code issues justice following the three classes of Babylonian society, property owners, freed men, and slaves. For example, if a doctor killed a patient, he would have his hands cut off. Various copies of portions of the Code of Hammurabi have been found on baked clay tablets, the Prologue of the Code of Hammurabi is on such a tablet, also at the Louvre
2. Slavery at common law – Some groups assert slavery was not recognised as lawful, often on the basis of pronouncements such as those attributed to Lord Mansfield, that the air of England is too pure for any slave to breathe. However the true legal position has been both nuanced and complex through the relevant time period, for most of the early common law history, the courts were not called upon to consider the position in relation to slavery. Accordingly, it has been argued that as slavery usually involved one or both of these things, it would only be lawful if there was positive legal impetus for its legality. Even if that is correct, it is clear that the law was not expressed to abrogate the status of either serfs generally, or slaves who were brought to England from abroad. There are also reports relating to an Irish decree in 1171 that all the English slaves in the whole of Ireland, the same source indicates that slavery in England was abolished by a general charter of emancipation in 1381. Certainly villeinage continued in England, slowly decaying, until the last villein died in the early 17th century, in later common law cases, none of the foregoing decrees or proclamations were cited or referred to as binding law in relation to the status of slaves generally. In 1569, a man, Cartwright, was observed savagely beating another, Cartwright averred that the man was a slave whom he had brought to England from Russia, and thus such chastisement was not unlawful. The case is reported by John Rushworth in his 1721 summary of John Lilburnes case of 1649 and he wrote, Whipping was painful and shameful, Flagellation for Slaves. And indeed it was resolved, even in Star-Chamber, That no Gentleman was to be whipt for any offence whatsoever. It is reported that the court held that the man must be freed, subsequent citations of the effect of the case was actually to impose limits on the physical punishment on slaves, rather than to express comment on legality of slavery generally. In the case of John Lilburne in 1649, the defendants counsel relied upon Cartwrights case to show that the severity of a received by Lilburne exceeded that permitted by law. In none of subsequent common law cases prior to Somersetts case was Cartwrights case cited as authority for the proposition that slavery was unlawful, however, those disputes predominantly concerned disputes between slave merchants, for whom it would have been commercially unwise to plead that slavery was unlawful. It is inferred that, because he was from Russia, Cartwrights slave was white, however, it is possible that he was African, as, although they were uncommon, African slaves in Russia were not unknown prior to the emergence of the Atlantic slave trade. However, the opposition of the courts of England to the status of slavery began to change with the rising importance of the African slave trade. An extensive traffic in slaves from Africa began in the 17th century, primarily to supply labour for the sugar. In 1660, what became the Royal African Company was chartered by the King with a monopoly in the trade, and in 1698, in the Caribbean, Barbados became an English Colony in 1624 and Jamaica in 1655. These and other Caribbean colonies became the center of wealth and the focus of the trade for the growing English empire. English merchants were prominent in the trade, and in commercial disputes slavery soon presented the English courts with novel legal questions