Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Three by Fox on Money in English (and Commonwealth) Legal History

David Fox, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, has posted three book chapters on the legal history of money.  The first is Monetary Obligations and the Fragmentation of the Sterling Monetary Union, which is to appear in Money in the Western Legal Tradition: Middle Ages to Bretton Woods, ed. D Fox and W Ernst (Oxford University Press, 2015):
This chapter explains the development during the nineteenth century of the legal structures behind the international monetary union between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It thus illustrates the operation of one part of the international gold standard in regulating currency values between three trading and investment partners in the British Empire. Through a study of litigated disputes, it shows the fragmentation of the monetary union during early 1930s and the gradual development of the monetary sovereignty in Australia and New Zealand.
The second is The Case of Mixt Monies, which is to also to appear in Money in the Western Legal Tradition:
This chapter considers the intellectual pedigree of the decision of the English Privy Council in Gilbert v Brett (1604), commonly known as the Case of Mixt Monies. It is the only reported common law decision which considers squarely how the debasement of a commodity currency should affect the performance of a monetary obligation. The chapter builds on the author’s previous published work on the Case by considering how the works of the European ius commune and English canon law which were manipulated in the Case in order to justify a common law rule of monetary nominalism.

Banks v Whetson
(1596), which is to appear in Landmark Cases in Property Law, ed. S Douglas, R Hickey, and E Waring (Hart Publishing, 2015)
This chapter considers the pre-modern common law rules on the identification of money in mixtures. It takes the decision of the Court of King’s Bench in Banks v Whetson (1596) as a starting point for considering the legal structures which tended to ensure the perfect fungibility of commodity monies in the late medieval and early modern periods. It then considers how these were applied in civil actions in detinue and in criminal appeals of theft for the recovery of money. It shows how these rules were relevant to delimiting the differences between the forms of legal remedy available to plaintiffs, and how their relationship to common forms of monetary transaction. These rules were the foundation of the modern rules for tracing money in mixture.