English Law

Common Law and Civil Law

Old English Law was originally divided between Civil Law and Common Law. The Common Law was based largely on traditions and social norms, so it wasn't a solid and comprehensive list of laws. The Civil Law was all the written laws and was enforced by the government. The Common Law was formed by kings in the 11th century so they could have a loose moral code to govern their people and keep them under control.

Examples of Outdated Laws in Old England

• There was a state-mandated religion; meaning that you had to follow a certain religion

• Any whale caught in the UK is automatically property of the queen

• You cannot put the monarch's face on a stamp if it's upside down

• You can't legally import potatoes into England if they are from Poland

• You can't sing in the street if the song has curse words

Influences in America

The new colonies didn't agree with many of the civil laws that the UK had, but since they were originally from England, many of the common laws and social norms had become part of the social structure of the new legal system in the colonies.