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Legal history: England & common law tradition: Canon & Civil Lawyers

Canonists & Civilians

Until the Victorian reforms, the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts were the preserve of practitioners with a different specialist education to that of the common lawyers.

Prior to the Reformation the advocates (barristers) were trained in Canon law, after the Reformation in Civil (Roman) law - in other words had a doctorate from either Oxford or Cambridge. Most advocates were members of Doctors' Commons.

The proctors (attorneys) learnt through on the job training.

Admiralty Courts


Hale and Fleetwood on admiralty jurisdiction Selden Society v 108 is available online via HeinOnline for holders of an Oxford SSO, and in print in the Legal Hist section of the Law Bod.

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