Bond University


[Extract] “This book is about the English legal system.” So begins this textbook, in a manner both appropriate and misleading. Appropriate, because of the book’s parochial focus on England; misleading, because the authors discuss the English legal process, not the English legal system as a whole. In any book about a common law legal system the reader would also expect a discussion of the categories or divisions of law, such as common law and equity, civil law and criminal law; a historical introduction; and a discussion of the constitutional background of the legal system, all of which are not considered here. This is not necessarily meant as a criticism; it simply suggests that a different title might have been more appropriate. In terms of what the authors do cover, their placing the English legal process in the context of not only its theoretical, but also its actual operation, makes the work significantly better than other “legal system” or “legal process” books, which mainly use a state-centred and rule- centred paradigm. The success of this book lies in the authors’ commitment to the importance of discussing law in context and in action, and in its juxtaposition of statutory provisions and empirical evidence as to their (non) operation in practice.