Trades Union Congress
The Trades Union Congress is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions. There are fifty affiliated unions, with a total of about 5.6 million members. The current General Secretary is Frances O'Grady; the TUC’s mission is to support trade unions to grow and thrive, to stand up for everyone who works for a living. They campaign for more and better jobs, a more equal, more prosperous country; the TUC's decision-making body is the Annual Congress. Between congresses decisions are made by the General Council. An Executive Committee is elected by the Council from its members. Affiliated unions can send delegates to Congress, with the number of delegates they can send proportionate to their size; each year Congress elects a President of the Trades Union Congress, who carries out the office for the remainder of the year and presides over the following year's conference. The TUC is not affiliated to the Labour Party. At election time the TUC cannot endorse a particular party by name.
However it can point to policies that it believes would be positive for workers’ rights, or to social cohesion and community welfare. It can politically campaign against policies that it believes would be injurious to workers; the TUC runs the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum and annual Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally commemorating the Tolpuddle Martyrs and their impact on trade unionism. The TUC Library preserves documents related to labour history in other lands, it now focuses on expanding the online and digital collections. The TUC archives are held at the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick Library; the archive contains files from c1920 – 2000 consisting of correspondence and external documents, reports, printed material and press statements. The TUC campaigns on a wide range of issues relating to the experience of people at work. Notably, the TUC succeeded in forcing Sports Direct to undergo an independent review into their treatment of workers in September 2016. In October 2016, the TUC's campaign against the Trade Union Bill won'Best Public Affairs Campaign' at the PR Week Awards.
The TUC's Campaign Priorities for 2017–18 are: 1. An economy that works for working people 2. Great jobs for everyone 3. A thriving movement that delivers for younger workers In 1970 the Equal Pay Act made it illegal for employers to give a woman worker different pay and conditions to a male one doing work of equal value. In 1999 the National Minimum Wage was established to protect low-paid workers. In 1999 a limit was placed on working hours as a health and safety measure; this was followed by a minimum holiday entitlement. In 2007 the no-smoking ban was introduced in public areas in response to union arguments that workers were risking their health. In October 2011 agency workers gained the right to receive the same treatment as permanent staff carrying out the same work; the TUC was founded in the 1860s. The United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades, founded in Sheffield, Yorkshire, in 1866, was the immediate forerunner of the TUC, although efforts to expand local unions into regional or national organisations date back at least forty years earlier.
The first TUC meeting was held in 1868 when the Manchester and Salford Trades Council convened the founding meeting in the Manchester Mechanics' Institute. The fact that the TUC was formed by Northern Trades Councils was not coincidental. One of the issues which prompted this initiative was the perception that the London Trades Council was taking a dominant role in speaking for the Trade Union Movement as a whole; the second TUC meeting took place in 1869 at the Oddfellows Hall, Temple Street, Birmingham where delegates discussed the eight-hour working day, election of working people to Parliament and the issue of free education. Arising out of the 1897 Congress, a decision was taken to form a more centralised trade union structure that would enable a more militant approach to be taken to fighting the employer and achieving the socialist transformation of society; the result was the General Federation of Trade Unions, formed in 1899. For some years it was unclear which body would emerge as the national trade union centre for the UK and for a while both were recognised as such by different fraternal organisations in other countries.
However, it was soon agreed among the major unions that the TUC should take the leading role and that this would be the central body of the organised Labour Movement in the UK. The GFTU continued in existence and remains to this day as a federation of trade unions providing common services and facilities to its members; as the TUC expanded and formalised its role as the "General Staff of the Labour Movement" it incorporated the Trades Councils who had given birth to it becoming the body which authorised these local arms of the TUC to speak on behalf of the wider Trade Union Movement at local and County level. As the TUC became bureaucratised, the Trades Councils found themselves being subject to political restrictions and purges and to having their role downplayed and marginalised. In some areas (especially in London and the South East
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The Department for Business and Industrial Strategy is a department of the government of the United Kingdom, created by Theresa May on 14 July 2016 following her appointment as Prime Minister, through a merger between the Department for Business and Skills and Department of Energy and Climate Change. BEIS brought together responsibility for business, industrial strategy, science and innovation with energy and climate change policy, merging the functions of the former BIS and DECC; the Ministers in the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy are as follows: In October 2016, Archie Norman was appointed as Lead Non Executive Board Member for the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy. The department is responsible for government policy in the following areas: Some policies apply to England alone due to devolution, while others are not devolved and therefore apply to other nations of the United Kingdom; some economic policies are devolved but many aspects of several important policy areas are reserved to Westminster.
Reserved and excepted matters are outlined below. Scotland Reserved matters: The Economy Directorate of the Scottish Government handles devolved economic policy. Northern Ireland Reserved matters: Business regulation and support Climate change policy Company law Competition Consumer protection Corporate governance Import and export control Employment relations Energy Export licensing Insolvency Intellectual property Nuclear energy Outer space Postal services Product standards and liability Research councils Science and research Telecommunications Time Trade associations Units of measurementExcepted matter: Outer space Nuclear powerThe department's main counterpart is: Department for the Economy
United Kingdom company law
The United Kingdom company law regulates corporations formed under the Companies Act 2006. Governed by the Insolvency Act 1986, the UK Corporate Governance Code, European Union Directives and court cases, the company is the primary legal vehicle to organise and run business. Tracing their modern history to the late Industrial Revolution, public companies now employ more people and generate more of wealth in the United Kingdom economy than any other form of organisation; the United Kingdom was the first country to draft modern corporation statutes, where through a simple registration procedure any investors could incorporate, limit liability to their commercial creditors in the event of business insolvency, where management was delegated to a centralised board of directors. An influential model within Europe, the Commonwealth and as an international standard setter, UK law has always given people broad freedom to design the internal company rules, so long as the mandatory minimum rights of investors under its legislation are complied with.
Company law, or corporate law, can be broken down into two main fields. Corporate governance in the UK mediates the rights and duties among shareholders, employees and directors. Since the board of directors habitually possesses the power to manage the business under a company constitution, a central theme is what mechanisms exist to ensure directors' accountability. UK law is "shareholder friendly" in that shareholders, to the exclusion of employees exercise sole voting rights in the general meeting; the general meeting holds a series of minimum rights to change the company constitution, issue resolutions and remove members of the board. In turn, directors owe a set of duties to their companies. Directors must carry out their responsibilities with competence, in good faith and undivided loyalty to the enterprise. If the mechanisms of voting do not prove enough for minority shareholders, directors' duties and other member rights may be vindicated in court. Of central importance in public and listed companies is the securities market, typified by the London Stock Exchange.
Through the Takeover Code the UK protects the right of shareholders to be treated and trade their shares. Corporate finance concerns the two money raising options for limited companies. Equity finance involves the traditional method of issuing shares to build up a company's capital. Shares can contain any rights the company and purchaser wish to contract for, but grant the right to participate in dividends after a company earns profits and the right to vote in company affairs. A purchaser of shares is helped to make an informed decision directly by prospectus requirements of full disclosure, indirectly through restrictions on financial assistance by companies for purchase of their own shares. Debt finance means getting loans for the price of a fixed annual interest repayment. Sophisticated lenders, such as banks contract for a security interest over the assets of a company, so that in the event of default on loan repayments they may seize the company's property directly to satisfy debts. Creditors are to some extent, protected by courts' power to set aside unfair transactions before a company goes under, or recoup money from negligent directors engaged in wrongful trading.
If a company is unable to pay its debts as they fall due, UK insolvency law requires an administrator to attempt a rescue of the company. If rescue proves impossible, a company's life ends when its assets are liquidated, distributed to creditors and the company is struck off the register. If a company becomes insolvent with no assets it can be wound up by a creditor, for a fee, or more by the tax creditor. Company law in its modern shape dates from the mid-19th century, however an array of business associations developed long before. In medieval times traders would do business through common law constructs, such as partnerships. Whenever people acted together with a view to profit, the law deemed. Early guilds and livery companies were often involved in the regulation of competition between traders; as England sought to build a mercantile Empire, the government created corporations under a Royal Charter or an Act of Parliament with the grant of a monopoly over a specified territory. The best known example, established in 1600, was the British East India Company.
Queen Elizabeth I granted it the exclusive right to trade with all countries to the east of the Cape of Good Hope. Corporations at this time would act on the government's behalf, bringing in revenue from its exploits abroad. Subsequently, the Company became integrated with British military and colonial policy, just as most UK corporations were dependent on the British navy's ability to control trade routes on the high seas. A similar chartered company, the South Sea Company, was established in 1711 to trade in the Spanish South American colonies, but met with less success; the South Sea Company's monopoly rights were backed by the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713 as a settlement following the War of Spanish Succession, which gave the United Kingdom an assiento to trade, to sell slaves in the region for thirty years. In fact the Spanish let only one ship a year enter. Unaware of the problems, investors in the UK, enticed by company promoters' extravagant promises of profit, bought thousands of shares.
By 1717, the South Sea Company was so wealthy. This accelerated the inflation of the share price further, as did the Royal Exchange and London Assurance Corporation Act 1719, whi
United Kingdom labour law
United Kingdom labour law regulates the relations between workers and trade unions. People at work in the UK benefit from a minimum charter of employment rights, which are found in various Acts, common law and equity; this includes the right to a minimum wage of £7.83 for over 25-year-olds under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. The Working Time Regulations 1998 give the right to 28 days paid holidays, breaks from work, attempts to limit excessively long working hours; the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives the right to leave for child care, the right to request flexible working patterns. The Pensions Act 2008 gives the right to be automatically enrolled in a basic occupational pension, whose funds must be protected according to the Pensions Act 1995. To get fair labour standards beyond the minimum, the most important right is to collectively participate in decisions about how an enterprise is managed; this works through collective bargaining, underpinned by the right to strike, a growing set of rights of direct workplace participation.
Workers must be able to vote for trustees of their occupational pensions under the Pensions Act 2004. In some enterprises, such as universities, staff can vote for the directors of the organisation. In enterprises with over 50 staff, workers must be informed and consulted about major economic developments or difficulties; this happens through a increasing number of work councils, which must be requested by staff. However, the UK remains behind European standards in requiring all employees to have a vote for their company's board of directors, alongside private sector shareholders, or government authorities in the public sector. Collective bargaining, between democratically organised trade unions and the enterprise's management, has been seen as a "single channel" for individual workers to counteract the employer's abuse of power when it dismisses staff or fix the terms of work. Collective agreements are backed up by a trade union's right to strike: a fundamental requirement of democratic society in international law.
Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 strikes are lawful if they are "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". As well as having rights for fair treatment, the Equality Act 2010 requires that people are treated unless there is a good justification, based on their gender, sexual orientation and age. To combat social exclusion, employers must positively accommodate the needs of disabled people. Part-time staff, agency workers, people on fixed-term contracts are treated equally compared to full-time or permanent staff. To tackle unemployment, all employees are entitled to reasonable notice before dismissal after a qualifying period of a month, after two years they can only be dismissed for a fair reason, are entitled to a redundancy payment if their job was no longer economically necessary. If an enterprise is bought or outsourced, the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 2006 require that employees' terms cannot be worsened without a good economic, technical or organisational reason.
The purpose of these rights is to ensure people have dignified living standards, whether or not they have the relative bargaining power to get good terms and conditions in their contract. Labour law in its modern form is a creation of the last three decades of the 20th century. However, as a system of regulating the employment relationship, labour law has existed since people worked. In feudal England, the first significant labour laws followed the Black Death. Given the shortage of workers and consequent price rises the Ordinance of Labourers 1349 and the Statute of Labourers 1351 attempted to suppress sources of wage inflation by banning workers organisation, creating offences for any able-bodied person that did not work, fixing wages at pre-plague levels; this led to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, in turn suppressed and followed up with the Statute of Cambridge 1388, which banned workers from moving around the country. Yet conditions were improving. One sign was the beginning of the more enlightened Truck Acts, dating from 1464, that required that workers be paid in cash and not kind.
In 1772 slavery was declared to be illegal in R v Knowles, ex parte Somersett, the subsequent Slave Trade Act 1807 and Slavery Abolition Act 1833 enforced prohibition throughout the British Empire. The turn into the 19th century coincided with the start of the massive boom in production. People's relationship to their employers moved from one of status - formal subordination and deference - to contract whereby people were formally free to choose their work. However, freedom of contract did not, as the economist Adam Smith observed, change a worker's factual dependency on employers; as its height, the businesses and corporations of Britain's industrial revolution organised half the world's production across a third of the globe's surface and a quarter of its population. Joint Stock Companies, building railways and factories, manufacturing household goods, connecting telegraphs, distributing coal, formed the backbone of the laissez faire model of commerce. Industrialisation meant greater urbanisation, miserable conditions in the factories.
The Factory Acts dating from 1803 required minimum standards on hours and conditions of working children. But people were attempting to organise more formally. Trade unions were suppressed following the French Revolution of 1789 under the Combination Act 1799; the Master and Servant Act 1823 and subsequent updates stipulated that all workmen were subject to criminal penalties for disobedience, calling for strikes was punished as a
History of trade unions in the United Kingdom
The history of trade unions in the United Kingdom covers British trade union organisation, ideas and impact, from the early 19th century to the present. Unions in Britain were subject to severe repression until 1824, but were widespread in cities such as London. Trade unions were legalised in 1824, when growing numbers of factory workers joined these associations in their efforts to achieve better wages and working conditions. Workplace militancy had manifested itself as Luddism and had been prominent in struggles such as the 1820 Rising in Scotland, in which 60,000 workers went on a general strike, soon crushed. From 1830 on, attempts were made to set up national general unions, most notably Robert Owen's Grand National Consolidated Trades Union in 1834, which attracted a range of socialists from Owenites to revolutionaries; that organisation played a part in the protests after the Tolpuddle Martyrs' case, but soon collapsed. An important development of the trade union movement in Wales was the Merthyr Rising in May 1831 where coal and steel workers employed by the powerful Crawshay family took to the streets of Merthyr Tydfil, calling for reform, protesting against the lowering of their wages and general unemployment.
The protest spread to nearby industrial towns and villages and by the end of May the whole area was in rebellion, for the first time in the world the red flag of revolution was flown – which has since been adopted internationally by the trades union movement and socialist groups generally. In the 1830s and 1840s, trade unionism was overshadowed by political activity. Of particular importance was Chartism, the aims of which were supported by most socialerals, although none appear to have played leading roles. Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain which existed from 1838 to 1858, it took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to Parliament; the strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage.
Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and Yorkshire. The government did not yield to any of the demands, suffrage had to wait another two decades. Chartism was popular among some trade unions London's tailors, shoemakers and masons. One reason was the fear of the influx of unskilled labour in tailoring and shoe making. In Manchester and Glasgow, engineers were involved in Chartist activities. Many trade unions were active in the general strike of 1842, which spread to 15 counties in England and Wales, eight in Scotland. Chartism taught political skills that inspired trade union leadership. Union activity from the 1850s to the 1950s in textiles and engineering was in the hands of the skilled workers, they supported differentials in status as opposed to the unskilled. They focused on control over machine production and were aided by competition among firms in the local labour market.
After the Chartist movement of 1848 fragmented, efforts were made to form a labour coalition. The Miners' and Seamen's United Association in the North-East, operated 1851–1854 before it too collapsed because of outside hostility and internal disputes over goals; the leaders sought working-class solidarity as a long-term aim, thus anticipating the affiliative strategies promoted by the Labour Parliament of 1854. More permanent trade unions were established from the 1850s, better resourced but less radical; the London Trades Council was founded in 1860, the Sheffield Outrages spurred the establishment of the Trades Union Congress in 1868. The legal status of trade unions in the United Kingdom was established by a Royal Commission on Trade Unions in 1867, which agreed that the establishment of the organisations was to the advantage of both employers and employees. Unions were legalised in 1871 with the adoption of the Trade Union Act 1871; the "aristocracy of labour" comprise the skilled workers who were proud and jealous of their monopolies, set up labour unions to keep out the unskilled and semiskilled.
The strongest unions of the mid-Victorian period were unions of skilled workers such as the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. Trade unionism was quite uncommon amongst unskilled workers; the union officials avoided militancy, fearing that strikes would threaten the finances of unions and thereby their salaries. An unexpected strike wave broke out in 1889–90 instigated by the rank and file, its success can be explained by the dwindling supply of rural labour, which in turn increased the bargaining power of unskilled workers. The New Unionism starting in 1889 was a systematic outreach to bring in as union members the striking unskilled and semiskilled workers. Ben Tillett was a prominent leader of the London Dock strike of 1889, he formed the Dock, Wharf and General Labourers' Union in 1889, which had support from skilled workers. Its 30,000 members won an advance in working conditions. Unions played a prominent role in the creation of the Labour Representation Committee which formed the basis for today's Labour Party.
Women were excluded from trade union formation and hierarchies until the late 20th century. When women did attempt to challenge male hegemo
Unison (trade union)
Unison, stylised as UNISON, is the largest trade union in the United Kingdom with 1.4 million members. The union was formed in 1993 when three public sector trade unions, the National and Local Government Officers Association, the National Union of Public Employees and the Confederation of Health Service Employees merged. UNISON's current general secretary is Dave Prentis, he was elected on 28 February 2000 and took up the post on 1 January 2001. Members of UNISON are from industries within the public sector and cover both full-time and part-time support and administrative staff; the majority of people joining UNISON are workers within sectors such as local government, the National Health Service Registered Nurses, NHS Managers and Clinical Support Workers. The union admits ancillary staff such as Health Care Assistants and Assistant Practitioners, including Allied Health Professionals. Probation services, police services and transport. These'Service Groups' all have their own national and regional democratic structures within UNISON's constitution.
As a trade union, UNISON provides support to members on work related issues, including protection and representation at work, help with pay and conditions of service and legal advice. Each company or organisation will be represented by a particular UNISON branch and members within that organisation elect volunteer stewards to represent them; the stewards receive training in workplace issues and are able to co-ordinate and represent members both on an individual basis and collectively. Each branch is run by an annually elected committee of members which holds regular meetings, including an annual general meeting for all members to attend. Branches elect delegates to the union's annual National Delegate Conference, the supreme body within the union's constitution with responsibility for setting the union's policies for the forthcoming year. UNISON operate a holiday resort, UNISON Croyde Bay Resort, in North Devon. Members receive a 15% discount as well as have access to a 50% low paid member discount scheme.
To encourage all voices to be heard UNISON has "self organised groups" of black members, women members, gay, bisexual & transgender members, disabled members. Young members and retired members have their own sections within the union. Membership numbers have remained stable at between 1.2 and 1.4 million in the decade to 2014. The levels of subscription are determined by the National Delegate Conference and are recorded as a Schedule in the union rules; the National Delegate Conference has the power to vary the subscriptions levied after a majority vote, although the subscription rates do not change frequently. Local branches may after a majority vote of members, impose an additional'Local Levy' as long as the levy does not exceed one sixth of the subscription payable; this is in addition to the standard rate, must be used for local branch purposes. Membership fees vary depending on how members are paid and the level of their current salary. Subscriptions are paid by what is known as "check-off" or DOCAS.
This is where the employer deducts the contribution from the employee's salary on behalf of the union. Payment is taken by Direct Debit if the member joins online, if the member requests it, or if there is no DOCAS arrangement with the employer. Student members in full-time education have a fixed rate subscription of £10 per year. Members who have had continuous membership for at least two years may opt to pay a one-off fee of £15 upon retirement from paid employment; this allows them to retain the benefits of being a union member for life. They are classed as'Retired Members'. Members who are dismissed or made redundant from employment may retain their membership for £4 per year for a period of up to two years whilst they remain unemployed. Various local campaigns are run by the union. Much of the recruitment within organisations takes place at a local level, with stewards and branches directly engaging with the staff within their remit; the national organisation engages in publicity such as the "Ants and Bear", used at the formation of the new amalgamated union.
This advertising campaign showed an ant trying to get past a large bear by shouting "Excuse Me", however the bear did not pay attention. The next scene showed the ant being joined by many thousands more, them all saying "Get out of the way!" together, which does get the bear's attention and makes him move out of the way. The General Political Fund funded a TV recruitment advert "You're one in a million" launched in October 2004. UNISON has a political fund which uses money from members for social campaigning. Members have the choice of paying into either a fund which supports the Labour Party, a non-affiliated General Political Fund or to opt out of contributing to a political fund at all. UNISON carries out research and campaigns on public service issues, such as the Private Finance Initiative, it has voted to oppose the Government's proposals for a British national identity card. The union's links to Labour and its moderate policies has caused some conflict and criticism of action taken against left-wing activists.
In April 2009 a UNISON conference voted unanimously to request that the British Department of Health ban members of the British National Party from working as nurses in the National Health Service, describing the party as racist. UNISON runs a range of national campaigns, such as'Positively Public', the campaign to keep public services public and
English contract law
English contract law is a body of law regulating contracts in England and Wales. With its roots in the lex mercatoria and the activism of the judiciary during the industrial revolution, it shares a heritage with countries across the Commonwealth, to a lesser extent the United States, it is experiencing gradual change because of the UK's membership of the European Union and international organisations like Unidroit. Any agreement, enforceable in court is a contract; because a contract is a voluntary obligation, in contrast to paying compensation for a tort and restitution to reverse unjust enrichment, English law places a high value on ensuring people have consented to the deals that bind them in court. A contract forms when one person makes an offer, another person accepts it by communicating their assent or performing the offer's terms. If the terms are certain, the parties can be presumed from their behaviour to have intended that the terms are binding the agreement is enforceable; some contracts for large transactions such as a sale of land require the formalities of signatures and witnesses and English law goes further than other European countries by requiring all parties bring something of value, known as "consideration", to a bargain as a precondition to enforce it.
Contracts can be made or through an agent acting on behalf of a principal, if the agent acts within what a reasonable person would think they have the authority to do. In principle, English law grants people broad freedom to agree the content of a deal. Terms in an agreement are incorporated through express promises, by reference to other terms or through a course of dealing between two parties; those terms are interpreted by the courts to seek out the true intention of the parties, from the perspective of an objective observer, in the context of their bargaining environment. Where there is a gap, courts imply terms to fill the spaces, but through the 20th century both the judiciary and legislature have intervened more and more to strike out surprising and unfair terms in favour of consumers, employees or tenants with weaker bargaining power. Contract law works best when an agreement is performed, recourse to the courts is never needed because each party knows their rights and duties. However, where an unforeseen event renders an agreement hard, or impossible to perform, the courts will construe the parties to want to have released themselves from their obligations.
It may be that one party breaches a contract's terms. If a contract is not performed the innocent party is entitled to cease their own performance and sue for damages to put them in the position as if the contract were performed, they are under a duty to mitigate their own losses and cannot claim for harm, a remote consequence of the contractual breach, but remedies in English law are footed on the principle that full compensation for all losses, pecuniary or not, should be made good. In exceptional circumstances, the law goes further to require a wrongdoer to make restitution for their gains from breaching a contract, may demand specific performance of the agreement rather than monetary compensation, it is possible that a contract becomes voidable, depending on the specific type of contract, one party failed to make adequate disclosure or they made misrepresentations during negotiations. Unconscionable agreements can be escaped where a person was under duress or undue influence or their vulnerability was being exploited when they ostensibly agreed to a deal.
Children, mentally incapacitated people and companies, whose representatives are acting wholly outside their authority, are protected against having agreements enforced against them where they lacked the real capacity to make a decision to enter an agreement. Some transactions are considered illegal, are not enforced by courts because of a statute or on grounds of public policy. In theory, English law attempts to adhere to a principle that people should only be bound when they have given their informed and true consent to a contract; the modern law of contract is a creature of the industrial revolution and the social legislation of the 20th century. However, the foundations of all European contract law are traceable to obligations in Ancient Athenian and Roman law, while the formal development of English law began after the Norman Conquest of 1066. William the Conqueror created a common law across England, but throughout the middle ages the court system was minimal. Access to the courts, in what are now considered contractual disputes, was consciously restricted to a privileged few through onerous requirements of pleading and court fees.
In the local and manorial courts, according to English law's first treatise by Ranulf de Glanville in 1188, if people disputed the payment of a debt they, witnesses, would attend court and swear oaths. They risked perjury if they lost the case, so this was strong encouragement to resolve disputes elsewhere; the royal courts, fixed to meet in London by the Magna Carta 1215, accepted claims for "trespass on the case". A jury would be called, no wager of law was needed, but some breach of the King's peace had to be alleged; the courts allowed claims where there had been no real trouble, no tort with "force of arms", but it was still necessary to put this in the pleading. For instance, in 1317 one Simon de Rattlesdene alleged he was sold a tun of wine, contaminated with salt water and, quite fictitiously, this was said to be done "with force and arms, namely with swords and bows and arrows"; the Court of Chancery and t