Modernisation through Process

The Rise of the Court of Chancery in the European Perspective

David Harbecke

Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 309
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2018. XIV, 303 p.

ISSN 1610-6040
ISBN 978-3-465-04331-7

The existence of a separate equitable jurisdiction long remained a seemingly idiosyncratic feature of the common law tradition. It is a source of continuous fascination and irritation for common lawyers and continental legal historians alike. The Court of Chancery was not the only but by far the most prominent of the equitable courts. It thus came to dominate the development of the equitable jurisdiction in the English legal system and our understanding thereof.

Much has been said about the evolution of the Court of Chancery and yet the historical accounts have commonly failed to explain the reason for the singularity of the English development satisfactorily for the modern reader. By examining the sources from the perspective of modern legal theory and comparing the English to contemporary continental European developments, this book aims to facilitate a better understanding of a seemingly inscrutable late medieval phenomenon.


Acknowledgements | XIII


Introduction | 1


A short history of the Court of Chancery | 5


Literature on the Court of Chancery | 39


Sources | 63


The Chancery process in the 15th century | 75


Roman-canon law origins of the Chancery proces | 177


Functions of the Court of Chancery | 211


The rise of the Court of Chancery in the European Perspective | 253


Conclusion | 291


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