Julius Grower addresses the State Bar of California
8 May 2017
Julius Grower, Teaching Fellow at UCL Faculty of Laws, addressed members of the State Bar of California, at the Royal Courts of Justice, this morning
His lecture, on The Foundations of English Justice, was part of the State Bar’s biennial A Week in Legal London programme, as part of which hundreds of attorneys visit the UK’s capital city to meet their English counterparts and to learn more about the roots of their own justice system.
Delivering his speech next to a placard quoting Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, Julius described some of the fundamental structures of the English justice system and UK constitutional law. He explained that, although, unlike the United States, the United Kingdom has no written constitutional document, it still protects fundamental liberties in a robust way. As The Bard made clear, only an enemy of liberty would therefore demand such action.
As Julius said:
‘The relationship between English and American law is a close one. Though the proper relationship between English law and state and federal law in the United States, both before and after 4th July 1776, is a complex and still unexhaustively adjudicated one, Story J’s observation that the ‘general principles’ of ‘the common law of England [are what your] ancestors brought with them … and claimed … as their birthright’ is certainly not untrue. However adapted to the local conditions it was, and has become, in a very real sense, the law of much of the United States is or comes from the law of England’. Nonetheless, as he explained, both legal systems have a number of idiosyncratic features which need to drawn out and considered separately if they are to be property compared as a whole.