17th century English jurist, drafter of the Petition of Right
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  • Edward Coke

    Sir Edward Coke SL (1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) was an English barrister, judge and politician, who is considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.

    Reference

    Coke, Edward (1552-1634), by Stephen M. Sheppard, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Sir Edward Coke was an English lawyer, judge, and royal advisor. Coke was a prominent Parliamentarian and author and was especially important in the creation of the early modern common law. His ideas about the ancient constitution of England, derived from both history and the common law, concluded that common law was both integral to the evolution of the law’s independence from royal power and served as a limit over administrative and official conduct. These ideas framed the understanding of the law among English colonists in North America as well as strongly influencing the modern ideal of the rule of law."
    Related Topics: Law, Rights

    Born

    1 Feb 1552, in Mileham, Norfolk, England

    Died

    3 Sep 1634, in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England

    Biography

    Sir Edward Coke, Petition of Right
    "Sir Edward Coke was an English lawyer whose defense of the supremacy of the common law against the claims of the royal prerogative had a profound influence on the development of English law and the United States Constitution. ... when Coke, summoned to a disputation on the king's power to withdraw a case from the courts, earned James I's fury by his assertions that the common law was the supreme law and that 'the king in his own person cannot adjudge any case...' In 1610 Coke again crossed the king when ... stating that the king cannot change any part of the common law nor create any offense by proclamation which was not an offense before."

    Web Pages

    Sir Edward Coke - Online Library of Liberty
    Includes portrait, short biography, links to various versions of Coke's works and to selected quotations
    "Sir Edward Coke (pronounced cook) (1552-1634) was a lawyer, Member of Parliament, and judge of great renown. He is considered one of the premier champions of the common law, which he defended against the attempted encroachments of the courts of equity and the royal prerogative of the Stuarts—James I (r. 1603-1625) in particular."

    Articles

    Agenda for Liberty: A Biography of John Lilburne, by Jim Powell, The Triumph of Liberty, 4 Jul 2000
    Lengthy biographical essay
    "Lilburne spent his spare time studying philosophy and law. In 1642, Lilburne obtained a copy of jurist Edward Coke's Institutes. Coke (1552-1634) had championed common law over arbitrary royal edicts. With common law, local judges made decisions case by case, from which general rules evolved. These tended to be applied more predictably than statutes."
    An Independent Judiciary: Edward Coke, by Jim Powell, The Triumph of Liberty, 4 Jul 2000
    Lengthy biographical essay
    "Edward Coke was a great English jurist, scholar, and reformer. ... Coke started practicing law in 1578. ... Attorney General Coke emerged as a formidable man when he handled some sensational trials, and he soon challenged the king. ... Coke objected to the king's men trying to influence a judge when neither a defendant nor defense counsel were present for cross-examination. ... When the House of Lords defended prerogatives claimed by the king, Coke warned that the prerogatives had no basis in English law. The king continued to make demands, and on May 8th Coke proposed that Parliament adopt a Petition of Right ..."
    Barristers and Barriers: Sir Edward Coke and the Regulation of Trade [PDF], by Gary M. Anderson, Robert D. Tollison, Cato Journal, 1993
    Examines Coke's impact on the regulation of the legal profession and argues that while he opposed royal grants of monopoly privileges, his efforts tended to enhance monopoly advantages of common law barristers
    "Historians since David Hume have honored Sir Edward Coke as a key defender of liberty against royal tyranny. A number of prominent economic historians have described Coke as having played a leading role in the fight against monopoly grants in the early 17th century. ... [Many] argue that Coke was an early advocate of laissez faire ... they maintain that Coke was principally motivated by his philosophical commitments to the dominance of the common law. But, neither Coke nor any of his fellow barristers opposed government economic regulations of the competitive process in principle."
    Civil Liberty and the State: The Writ of Habeas Corpus, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Apr 2002
    Highlights of English and American history on the writ of habeas corpus, in particular the 17th century conflict between Charles I and Edward Coke
    "When the two resolutions restricting the imprisoning and detaining of individuals without a writ of habeas corpus were returned to the House of Commons from the upper House of Lords with a proviso that 'nothing therein contained should be construed to entrench on the sovereign power of the Crown,' Coke stood up and spoke against it."
    Related Topic: Writ of Habeas Corpus
    Natural Law and the American Tradition, by Davis E. Keeler, The Freeman, May 1981
    Discusses the influence of Edward Coke and William Blackstone in early colonial America
    "Lord Coke was a product of the Seventeenth Century, which saw not only the ascendency of the doctrine of natural law as a restriction on the sovereign's relations to his subjects, but in England saw it established that there were certain fundamental common law rights which the courts would enforce even against the king. To Lord Coke, the common law limitations on royal authority became natural limitations on all authority; the common law rights of Englishmen became the natural rights of man. ... Coke seldom rested solely upon the Magna Carta or other authority but would invariably invoke 'common right and reason' to justify his position."
    The Alleged Liberalism of Sir Edward Coke, by Murray Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
    From the third section, titled "The 'economic liberalism' of Sir Edward Coke" of chapter 10; argues that Coke was not a sympathizer of laissez-faire but rather objected to the king (versus the Parliament) intervening in markets
    "Coke himself was a moderate Anglican, and not particularly concerned with religious issues. He was also not in any sense a merchant or a spokesman for merchants; he was a country gentleman from Norfolk who successively married two heiresses, and spent most of his career as a government lawyer, successively attorney general and chief justice. ... As an MP, Coke supported many mercantilist measures. ... In general, Sir Edward Coke had no quarrel with government regulation and control of trade, or with the creation of monopolies; what he objected to was the king doing the regulating or monopolizing, rather than Parliament."
    Related Topics: Free Trade, Monopoly

    Books

    The Classical Law of Tort, by Amanda J. Owens, Charles K. Rowley, Nov 1998
    "Sir Edward Coke is most remembered for his forceful championship of the supremacy of the common law. He defended the common law against the prerogative power of the crown and the encroachments of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In 1628 he published the first of four volumes of Institutes, which delineated some of the basic rights of an individual in a stable legal order."
    The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634)
        by Catherine Drinker Bowen, 1957
    Contents: Part I: Parliament Man and Attorney General 1552-1606 - Part II: The judgeship 1607-1616 - Part III: The Parliament Man 1617-1634

    Videos


    Steve Sheppard and The Writings of Sir Edward Coke, by Steve Sheppard, 18 May 2015
    Discusses some aspects of Coke's life, the works included in The Writings of Sir Edward Coke and Coke's influence in colonial and modern America

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Edward Coke" as of 12 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.