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A Selection of Classic Books On Law:

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-A-
Administrative Law:
§ Administrative Law by
Roscoe Pound.
Admiralty Courts:
§ See under history books, general.

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-B-
Biographies
§ Lives of the Chief Justices by Lord Campbell.
§ Francis Bacon - The Temper of the Man a biography of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) by Catherine D. Bowen (Boston: Little & Brown, 1963).
§ The Lion and the Throne a biography of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) by Catherine D. Bowen (Boston: Little & Brown, 1957).
This work was the "Winner of the National Book Award. Learn of Queen Elizabeth, The Inner Temple, The Impeachment of Bacon, Trial of Essex, Trial of Sir Walter Ralegh, The Gun Powder Plot, Common Law, The Institutes.
§ Yankee from Olympus a biography of Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) by Catherine D. Bowen (Boston: Little & Brown, 1945).
Blackstone
Commentaries by
Sir William Blackstone.
In his Commentaries, Blackstone ordered and elucidated the bulk of English law, showing it to be comparable to Roman law and to the civil law of the Continent. Commentaries has been readily quoted by all legal scholars, it is "a text-book of the student and the man of general reading," and while there has been many changes in the law since the time of Blackstone, the great principles of law, which he set forth in a "simple and clear style," remain the same. (Blackstone, however, "failed at the level of explanation." [Chambers.]) Blackstone's Commentaries had a tremendous effect on the profession and study of law; it was, I imagine, the only book packed by the 19th century lawyers and judges as they made their rural rounds.

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-C-
Cardozo:
§ Nature of the Judicial Process, Growth of the Law (1924) by
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (Yale University Press, 1928 & 1961).
§ The Paradoxes of Legal Science (University of Columbia, 1928).
§ Law and Literature (1931) (New York: Fallon Publications, 1947).
§ The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921)].
§ Cardozo: A Study in Reputation (University of Chicago Press, 1993) by Richard A. Posner Posner is a judge of a U. S. Court of Appeal and had taught at the law schools both at Chicago and Stanford).
Coke:
§ Institutes of the Laws of England by
Sir Edward Coke.
Common Law:
§ Common Law (1881) by
Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Boston: Little, Brown). Holmes' The Common Law, first published in 1881, was, as of 1990, in its 56th printing.
§ The Spirit of the Common Law by Roscoe Pound.
Comparative Law:
§ Ancient Law by
Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
This book has been printed numerous times and is currently available (New York: Dorset, 1986).
§ Village-Communities in the East and West by Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
This is a compilation of lectures delivered at Oxford in: Indian Law, Mahametan Law, Feudalism, Inclosure, Family, Tradition, Usury Laws, etc.; (London: John Murray, 1871).
§ Panorama of the World's Legal Systems by John Henry Wigmore (Washington: Washington Law Book, 1928).
§ A Kaleidoscope of Justice Containing Authentic Accounts of Trial Scenes from all Times and Climes by John Henry Wigmore (Washington: Washington Law Book, 1941).
Wigmore actually put the concept of justice, graphically, in kaleidoscopic form, as it existed in the major areas of the world; its in the book as a fold out frontispiece. Wigmore cautioned in the first paragraph of his preface, "this work is not offered ... as a piece of scientific research, but mainly as a book of informational entertainment."
Conflict of Laws:
§ Conflict of Laws, 1896;
Albert Venn Dicey (London: Stevens and Sons, 1908, 2nd ed.).
This work, to use Dicey's words from his preface (1st ed.), is an "attempt to form a digest of private international law, as administered by the English Courts ... This field of law has been fully explored by Story, Westlake, Foote, Wharton, and Nelson. The works of these authors have, during the composition of this treatise, never been long out of my hands. ... nor have I neglected to consult foreign jurists, such as Savigny, Bar, and Foelix ..."
Constitutional Law:
§ The Law and Custom of the Constitution (1886-92) by
Sir William R. Anson (Oxford University Press, 5th ed., 1922 [Vol. I], 1935 [Vol. II, Parts I & II] [3 books in total.]).
§ The English Constitution (1867) by Walter Bagehot (Oxford University Press, 1928).
If you are interested in the subject of government (and, you should be), I highly recommend Bagehot's The English Constitution, an absolutely superb book written by a lawyer who knows his stuff, in brilliant English (plain, readable and with very few citations).
§ Law of the Constitution (1885) by Albert Venn Dicey (London: MacMillan, 9th ed., 1950).
It is in this work that Dicey develops the principle, The Rule of Law.
§ Constitutional History of England (1827) by Henry Hallam (New York: Harper).
§ A Manual of the Constitutional History of Canada by Sir John George Bourinot (Toronto: Copp, Clark; 1901).
Contracts:
§ Principles of Contracts by
Sir Frederick Pollock (1875).
§ The Law of Contract (1884) by Sir William R. Anson.
Courts:
§ English Courts of Law by
Harold Granville Hanbury (1944) (Oxford University Press, 1957).
Criminal Law:
§ History of the Criminal Law by
Sir James Fitzjames Stephen.
This is the classic work. My copy (3 volumes) is a 1993 reprint by Wm. S. Hein (Buffalo) of the original (London; MacMillan & Co., 1883).
§ Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873) by Stephen (University of Chicago Press, 1991).
§ A Digest of Criminal Law/Crimes and Punishments by Stephen (Soule, Thomas & Wentworth).
§ The Criminal Statute Law of the Dominion of Canada (Toronto: Carswell, 1888).
An authoritative review by Henri Elzéar Taschereau, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, of the Criminal law as it existed in 1888.
§ The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law by Glanville Llewelyn Williams (New York: Knopf).
§ See too under Prisons and Punishment.

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-D-

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-E-
Evidence:
§ The Principles of Judicial Proof, or the Process of Proof as given by Logic, Psychology, and General Experience and Illustrated in Judicial Trials (1913) by John Henry Wigmore (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1931).
§ A Student's Textbook of the Law of Evidence by John Henry Wigmore (Brooklyn: The Foundation Press, 1935).
Equity:
§ Modern Equity by
Harold Granville Hanbury.

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-F-
Freedom:
§ Freedom and the Law by
Bruno Leoni (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 3rd Ed., 1991).
§ Liberty and the Rule of Law by Friedrich A. Hayek.
A publication of papers which "explore the implications of Hayek's legal and political philosophy," selected by Robert L. Cunningham (1926- ) (Texas A & M University Press, 1979).

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-G-

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-H-
History of the Law:
§ Lectures on the Early History of Institutions by Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
A Sequel to Ancient Law, this work includes in its parts "Kinship as the Basis of Society" and "Ancient Divisions of the Family." My copy is a 1987 reprint by Wm. S. Hein of the Henry Holt & Co. ed. (New York, 1888).
§ History of English Law by Frederick William Maitland and Sir Frederick Pollock (Cambridge University Press).
§ Royal Ordinances and Judgments of Governors and Intendants of Canada (Quebec: Frechette, 1854, 3 vols., pp. 648/650/776.)
This work apparently (for it is entirely in French) sets forth the law as it existed during the French regime up to 1760. The work begins with the royal document that had been signed at Paris on 27th April by Richelieu setting up "The Company of Canada" and carries along through the three volumes up to Bigot's ordinances of 1760.
§ "Uniacke Laws" being the consolidated Statutes of Nova Scotia from 1758 to 1804.
Compiled and introduced by
Richard Uniacke (1753-1830), this is a classic work, invaluable to the Nova Scotia historian. (Halifax: John Howe, Printers to the King, 1805).
§ The Consolidated Statutes of Canada (Toronto: Derbishire & Desbarats, 1859). Should have all the imperial enactments in force beginning with "Boundaries and Constitution of Canada and the political Rights of Her Majesty's Canadian Subjects, (1774).
For more on the History of Law, see under Criminal Law.

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-I-
International Law:
§ International Law by
Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
This book evolved as a result of a series of lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge, 1887. (London: John Murray, 2nd ed., 1915.)

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-J-

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-K-

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-L-
Law (General Expositions):
§ The Law by
Frédéric Bastiat (Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1981).
This explosive work by Bastiat is but a mere 75 pp. pamphlet.
Legislation:
§ The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780) by Jeremy Bentham (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988).
§ The Theory of Legislation (1789) by Jeremy Bentham. (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner; 1931.)
§ A Fragment on Government (1776) (Oxford University Press, 1951).
§ Law, Legislation and Liberty by Friedrich A. Hayek, (University of Chicago Press, Vol. XVII, 1973) 3 vols., 184/195/244 pp.

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-M-
Montesquieu:
§ The Spirit of Laws (1748) by
Montesquieu.
This is Montesquieu's greatest work, and -- in comparing the republican, despotic, and monarchical forms of government -- Montesquieu reveals the influence that John Locke had on him. It was in this work, incidentally, that Montesquieu made his great and moving protest against slavery.

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-N-

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-O-

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-P-
Parliamentary and Practice:
§ Parliamentary and Practice (1884) by
Sir John George Bourinot (Montreal: Dawson, 2nd ed., 1892).
§ How Canada Is Governed by Sir John George Bourinot (Toronto: Copp, Clark; 1909).
Prisons & Punishment:
§ The State of Prisons by
John Howard (1777) (London: Dent, Everyman's Lib., 1929).
§ The Individualization of Punishment by Raymond Saleilles (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.).
§ See too under criminal law.

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-Q-

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-R-
Reform (Law):
§ The Reform of the Law by Glanville Llewelyn Williams (London: Victor Gollancz, 1951).

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-S-

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-T-
Trial Procedure:
§ The Art of Cross-Examination (1903); 4th Ed.; (Macmillan, 1962).
This is the classic by Francis L. Wellman (1854-1942).
§ See also under
evidence.
§ See Wigmore's for trial scenes from the classic novels.

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-U-

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-V-

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-W-

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-X-

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-Y-

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-Z-

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Peter Landry