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HISTORY

OF

THE INNS OF COURT,

&c.

CHAPTER I.

EARLY SCHOOLS OF LAW IN ENGLAND.

It is impossible to fix with certainty the period when the professors and students of the common law first began to associate themselves together as a society, and form themselves into collegiate order; or to assign an exact date to the foundation of the Inns of Court, the original institution of which nowhere precisely appears. There were persons learned in the law, and skilful in pleading causes, professionally employed as early as the reign of William Rufus; and in the time of Stephen the municipal laws were, we are informed, studied in monasteries, seminaries, and families of distinction. The civil law, which the clergy had exerted themselves to introduce into England, being unpalatable to the nation, many persons, at a very early date, devoted themselves with

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zeal and diligence to the study of the common law, or, as it was called emphatically, the law of the land; which we know was taught in the city of London, prior to 19 Hen. III., by learned men of the law, who set up schools for that purpose. After the fixing of the Court of Common Pleas by Magna Charta, the practitioners of the municipal law took

up

their residence in houses between the king's courts at Westminster and the city of London,—forming then one community; and before the end of the reign of Edward II., they appear to have divided themselves into separate inns or colleges, at Temple Bar, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn.

In the time of the republic in ancient Rome, it was the practice for youths who designed to study jurisprudence, and adopt the profession of the law, after finishing the usual course of study in grammar, Grecian literature, and philosophy, to attach themselves as pupils to some of the eminent lawyers of the day, whose houses they frequented, and whom they attended in public, in order to profit by their example and experience,—nearly in the same way as students of the English law, at the present day, enter the chambers of barristers and special pleaders, whose precedents they copy, and whose practice they observe. Those lawyers who were distinguished for their legal knowledge were consulted at their own houses; they frequently delivered their opinions vivá voce, sometimes in writing. In difficult cases they were accustomed to meet in deliberation near the temple of Apollo, in the

forum, and after consultation pronounce a joint opinion. Students of the Roman law were called studiosi juris, vel jurisprudentie. Lawyers were termed advocatus, causidicus, jurisconsultus, jurisperitus, &c.

Under the emperors, lawyers were permitted to take fees from their clients after the conclusion of the cause — honorarium, certam justamque mercedem; to which practice may be traced the mode of remunerating counsel which has been customary in England for many centuries. Schools for instruction in the law were opened by Cassius and other eminent lawyers, the students being called auditores. Notwithstanding the occasional intrusion of base and venal men into the profession of jurisprudence in Rome, it was held in high respect. Cicero describes the house of an eminent lawyer as the oracle of the city; Pliny terms the profession of the law the most honourable of all professions; and the Emperor Justinian immortalised his name by promoting its study, conferring upon its professors numerous rewards and distinctions. Schools of law were founded by the emperors in Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus, the latter of which was much celebrated in the East from the third to the sixth century. The period of study at those schools was five years; after which probation the students were scattered through the various provinces practising the law, and frequently rising to posts of trust and dignity. Students were during the first year called Dupondii or Justinianei novi; their studies being confined to the 'Institutes' and the first

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four books of the · Digests. The second year they were called Edictales ; and studied the second and third parts of the ' Digests. Students in the third year were called Papinianista, being occupied with the fourth part of the 'Digests. The fourth year they were styled Lyte, taking the remainder of the 'Digests;' and the fifth and last year Prolyta, studying the code. In every colony into which the Roman laws and customs were introduced, the study of jurisprudence was cultivated, and the law practised by professional advocates. Juvenal points to Gaul and Africa as places which had already given birth to lawyers :

Accipiat te
Gallia, vel potiùs nutricula causidicorum

Africa, si placuit mercedem imponere linguæ." Under the Emperor Claudius Cæsar, A. D. 49, the Roman system of jurisprudence was introduced into Britain. The inhabitants soon began to adopt the manners of their invaders; they affected Roman dress, Roman language, Roman rhetoric, and Roman pleasures :“Nunc totus Graias nostrasque habet orbis Athenas.

Gallia causidicos docuit facunda Britannos : De conducendo loquitur jam rhetore Thule.” For the space of about three hundred and sixty years, from Claudius Cæsar to the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain in the reign of the Emperor Honorius, the Roman law flourished in this island; and its study was promoted under some of the most eminent lawyers; among others Papinian, Paulus, and Ulpian, whose decisions are collected in the body of the civil law, and the former of whom sat as a minister of justice at York.

After the withdrawal of the Romans and the settlement of the Saxons in this country, all traces of the laws of Rome were obliterated, and they were succeeded by Saxon, Danish, and Norman customs.

, Justice was administered in each county by the sheriff, or alderman, of the county, in conjunction with the bishop of the diocese, who was associated with him as his monitor and assistant. At certain intervals they held jointly in every hundred, the Tourn, the grand criminal court, in which all offences both lay and ecclesiastical were tried. Every fourth week a county court was held for the dispatch of civil causes. The freeholders of the county were the judges in this court; the sheriff presiding, assisted, when necessity required, by the bishop. No stated form of pleading appears to have been in use at this time: some of the legal formulæ of the Anglo-Saxons are said to have been in verse, and the conveyance of land was effected by the delivery of horns and similar symbols, one of which interesting relics is still preserved among the muniments in York Minster. There were, however, some who possessed intimate acquaintance with the laws of the land, in behalf of which they exhibited their zeal and attachment on the introduction of the Norman customs; and the office of counsel, there is reason for presuming, was not unknown to the Anglo-Saxons.*

Quisque causam suam sine solennioribus juris formulis,

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