Margins of Authority: Coke's Institutes and the Epistemology of the String Cite

Law and Humanities 11(1) (2017), 121-36

28 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2016 Last revised: 1 Nov 2017

See all articles by Simon Stern

Simon Stern

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 29, 2016

Abstract

Precedential authority has an important place in doctrinal explication and analysis in Anglo-American law. Efforts to manage these precedents visually, in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, display a variety of solutions to the question of where precedents belong and how to represent them. Sir Edward Coke’s approach, in his Institutes (1628-44), was to place the citations in the margin; this way of managing textual authority connected legal concepts in a way that lent new significance to the citations. The discussion examines this development by considering it in relation to the introduction of perspective in visual art, in the early fifteenth century, and the use of infinitesimals in the new mathematics of the early seventeenth century.

Keywords: Precedent, Citation, Legal History, Book History, Printing History

Suggested Citation

Stern, Simon, Margins of Authority: Coke's Institutes and the Epistemology of the String Cite (September 29, 2016). Law and Humanities 11(1) (2017), 121-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2845692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2845692

Simon Stern (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty-staff/full-time-faculty/simon-stern

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