Tag: law

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  • The common law

    England was proud of its individuality. Napoleon had imposed a codified system of law throughout his continental Empire, based on Roman law. In theory any citizen anywhere in his domain could consult a written source and see where he stood. Of course …

  • Criminal law

    One topic which touched most citizens was the criminal law. In 1811 there had been a brutal multiple murder in the east end of London, which brought about a debate about policing. Until then the law had been enforced, with varying degrees of efficiency …

  • Criminal trials

    Few trials lasted longer than two days. Public interest, stirred up by the popular newspapers, could be intense. Tickets were issued to those who knew the right people, such as diplomats and fashionable ladies, but even so the court room could be so …

  • Executions

    Executions were still public. Thomas Cook ran excursion trains to promising executions. 30,000 people watched the hanging of a notorious pair of murderers, in 1849, including Charles Dickens, who watched from the roof of a house overlooking the gallows …

  • The hulks

    There was a shortage of prison accommodation. Long term prisoners were transferred to provincial prisons, or to the dreaded Hulks – decommissioned warships anchored in the mud off Woolwich. They were dark, damp and verminous. Few prisoners …

  • The Metropolitan Police

    At last, in 1829, the Metropolitan Police force was established, their headquarters in Scotland Yard, just off Whitehall. Their uniform made them look more like parkā€keepers than soldiers, to allay the fears of those who feared law enforcement by a …

  • The prisons

    What could you expect after arrest? – a very gloomy future.

    In the previous century Jeremy Bentham had dreamt up a novel idea for a prison construction: a 'Panopticon', built in a star …

  • Transportation

    The huge number of capital offences with which the reign began had been pruned to only two, murder and treason, by 1861. When death was no longer the inevitable sentence for minor crimes, what was to be done with the prisoners? The colonies came in …

  • Women

    When a woman married, all that she owned, and anything she earned after the marriage, became the property of her husband. Divorce could be obtained only by a private Act of Parliament, at great expense. The situation eased slightly after the …

  • Excalibur

    Excalibur consists of a small group of hand-picked heroes, nominally under direct command of [[Queen Victoria]] although in reality they report into the Prime Minister. h3. Current roster: * [[:captain-britain | Captain Britain]] - Leader and public …