By Mike Fitzgerald, Gregor McLennan, Jennie Pawson
'There is far right here that's really debatable, yet not anything that may be ignored.' occasions academic complement
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Additional info for Crime and Society (Readings in History & Theory)
The opponents of the magistrate or of a particular law seized (and laid special emphasis) upon certain aspects of the tradition of the rule of law which appeared to justify resistance to office-holders or to legitimate participation or intervention in the legal process. They drew particularly on the assumption that, if all men were subject to the law, then those in authority were account—able for their actions—accountable both in law and to the law. In the spheres of both politics and the law this precept was highly controversial.
But here the law falls into a ‘Vagueness [which] renders it possible for judges to treat all combinations to effect any purpose which happens to be distasteful to them as indictable crimes, by declaring this purpose to be “unlawful”’. (‘Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law’, 19th ed, 1966, p. 430). Many eighteenth-century Englishmen would have found private agreements by the powerful to manipulate the law not only distasteful but deceitful and dangerous. But only judges and legislators can make matters of taste also matters of law.
It was also the assumption of those who regarded themselves as injured parties that this popular right commanded at least grudging recognition from those in authority. The actions of aggrieved parties were therefore often highly demonstrative: they were designed to draw attention to complaints and to cajole those in power into remedying the situation. 4 The pursuit of redress could take either legal or extra-legal forms, though more often than not the two were combined. Petitioning and litigation went hand in hand with riots, demonstrations and the anonymous letter.
Crime and Society (Readings in History & Theory) by Mike Fitzgerald, Gregor McLennan, Jennie Pawson