Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Certainly

From the High court last month

Mr. Justice Heydon
According to Griffith CJ, "The law is always certain, although no one may know what it is."

It came up in the course of a high court decision saying that the common law rule that wives cannot be compelled to give evidence against their husbands -
"the law will not suffer a wife to be a witness for or against her husband, to preserve the peace of families"

that I had always thought was settled law (and can remember providing the bulk of the plot in several Agatha Christies) had in fact never existed at all, being traced back to a few lines in the judgement in R v The Inhabitants of All Saints, Worcester, a somewhat ambiguous decision concerning which parish was responsible for particular poor law recipients in 1817 that involved, along the way, finding out whether the man Alice was living with was a bigamist (because if so the parish could tell Alice to go off and batten on another parish) and whether they could go ask Alice.

Which does, I have to say, mean that the drive for gay marriage has lost most of its point.

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