This edition of the third part of Edward Coke’s Institutes of the Laws of England was published in 1648. Like all of Coke’s other works, these materials played an important role in the seventeenth-century English turn toward modern notions of legal authority that rejects idiosyncrasy. Whereas the practice and very processes of law had previously depended upon the independent and often inconsistent decisions of individual leaders or jurists, Coke advocated a more systematic and consistent legal practice based on knowledge distilled from the history of English common-law decision-making. His Institutes represented a repository of this distilled wisdom that was composed alongside an equally important and influential set of reports of specific cases that Coke had observed and taken part in.
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