Although the present meaning of reason has been reduced to discrete definitions, precise interpretations did not exist in medieval England. Rather, reason was defined by its role in the adjudicatory process. During the late medieval period, reason came to embody the very essence of the common law as courts recognized that it could be used to prevent procedural rules from infringing upon substantive rights. Relying upon Year Book cases and jurisprudential works, the author describes how the chameleon-like character of reason helped to shape the medieval English common law.
Barbara A. Singer,
The Reason of the Common Law,
37 U. Miami L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol37/iss3/15