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    The Lost Legal System: Pre-Common Law Ireland and the Brehon Law

    Higgins, Noelle (2011) The Lost Legal System: Pre-Common Law Ireland and the Brehon Law. In: Legal Theory Practice and Education. ATINER : Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, pp. 193-205. ISBN 9789608541153

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    Prior to the adoption of common law in Ireland, a native legal system, known as Brehon law, had applied throughout the country. This legal system dated from Celtic times and was passed down orally from generation to generation. It was written down for the first time in the seventh century and survived until the seventeenth century when it was finally replaced by the common law. The Brehon law system was highly complex and sophisticated. Rights were accrued based on societal status and punishment / restitution was based on the status of the person against whom an offence was committed. The legal system was administered by judges but the legal system was essentially self-enforcing with no prisons or police force. This paper will describe the roots of the Brehon legal system and its primary actors and will compare it to the common law system. It will analyse its main facets and subjects and will trace its development through Irish history up until it was finally supplanted as the legal system of Ireland by the common law in the seventeenth century.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This is the preprint version of the published article which is available at Gerner-Beuerle and Frenkel (eds.), Legal Theory Practice and Education, (Athens: ATINER, 2011), pp. 193 – 205
    Keywords: Legal Systems; Pre-Common Law Ireland; Brehon Law; Law - History;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 5663
    Depositing User: Noelle Higgins
    Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 15:43
    Publisher: ATINER : Athens Institute for Education and Research
    Refereed: No
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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