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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

15 DEC 2011

Some interesting historical citations on bankruptcy and debt - riot!!

I am particularly grateful to Dr Ian Williams (UCL) for bringing a couple of historical sources to my attention. I thought I would share these with blog readers as they are both informative and highly amusing. The first is Lewes v Lany (1607), where commissioners of bankruptcy were proceeded against in the Star Chamber for taking reimbursement for their expenses (acquitted) and for riot in using force to execute a warrant to take the body of the bankrupt (convicted). This can be found at pp.342-3 in W.P. Baildon (ed.), Les Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata (1894, privately printed). IPs in the modern age have been known to have a drink. I do not think they have to date have gone as far as their early seventeenth century ancestors! 

The second is a reference in David Yale's introduction to Edward Hake, Epieikeia (1953, Yale UP). fn.34 (p.xxviii) quotes a letter referring to a dinner conversation between Hake (a common lawyer) and Julius Caesar (a civilian), c.1600. Caesar was arguing that the civil was more equitable, and the quoted passage refers to ideas of certain items not being seized for payment of debts: "'how the Civil law therein may be said to draw neerer to that Equity as is doctrined by the word of God than the Common law doth, as for exmaple your case where creditors shall be paid notwithstanding the debtor's forfeiture of all his goods by Attainder, item, the case of wreck of the sea where no live thing cometh to land, and lastly that the bookes of a scholar or the working tools of an Artizon shall not been seised or taken in execution upon a condemnation in debt or any other Action."

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