Pivotal Moments in the History of Law

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PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN LEGAL HISTORY Key events in the evolution of law from the dawn of civilisation to today

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2853 BC - EMPEROR FU XI Laid down the laws of humanity, establishing moral & social orders

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1300 BC - THE TEN COMMANDMENTS In the bible written that God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses. An early statement of fundamental principles.

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399 BC - SOCRATES TRIAL Early recorded trial with Socrates willing to die for his belief in espousing the truth as he sees it.

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50 BC - CICERO THEORIES Cicero formulated that human beings should follow the natural law of reason - forming the basis of modern law.

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700 AD - FINGERPRINTING INVENTED Invented in China as a means to authenticate loans and contracts.

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871 AD - ALFRED THE GREAT Introduced the principle of trial by jury.

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1215 AD - MAGNA CARTER The establishment that ‘no freeman should be deprived of life, liberty or poverty except by legal judgement…’

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1679 AD - HABEAS CORPUS Prohibiting even a ruler operating outside the law preventing unlawful detention, or arbitrary imprisonment.

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1804 AD - NAPOLEON’S CIVIL CODE Comprehensive Code of Civil Law enshrining principles of individual liberty and equality before the law.

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1885 AD - A.V.DICEY BRITISH CONSTITUTION Book setting out the twin pillars of the primacy of Parliament and the Rule of Law, safeguarding the independence of the judiciary.

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1911 AD - THE PARLIAMENT ACT Establishment of the supremacy of the elected Commons over the non-elected Lords. The Lords could no longer block legislation.

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1959 AD - EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS Jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights over member states of the Council of Europe.

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