We are also looking forward to our next session, on October 25, at which Emily Kadens, Northwestern Pritzker Law School, will present "New Light on Twyne’s Case":
If you’re a legal historian or student who would like to attend, please contact me or my co-convener Anne Fleming at Georgetown Law.
In 1602, the English Court of Star Chamber decided the fraudulent conveyance case Attorney General v. Twyne & Pearce. The opinion offered factors to consider in identifying when the conveyance of goods or property was fraudulent. These factors have been so useful to judges that Twyne’s Case has proven to be among the most enduring old English cases in the common law. Courts still routinely cite it for its specific analysis, and scholars reference it frequently in their studies of fraudulent conveyance law. And yet the report of the case, written by Edward Coke (who was the Attorney General in the suit), upon which judges and scholars rely contains many inaccuracies and omissions. A large number of case documents from Twyne and related actions remain in the National Archives in London, however, and they permit us to flesh out the story behind this iconic case. It turns out that the allegedly fraudulent transaction and its aftermath were very complicated, involving a rural economy of credit without banks, the ties among and feuds between local gentry and their partisans, the late Elizabethan government’s terror of popular unrest, and possibly even official malfeasance. The article unpacks this convoluted tale to provide a more accurate account of the events leading to the lawsuit. In addition, it both (1) examines fraudulent conveyance cases before Twyne in an attempt to discern whether Twyne raised novel or particularly useful issues around which the Star Chamber could fashion its interpretation of fraudulent conveyance law, and (2) examines the immediate impact of Twyne’s new jurisprudence on fraudulent conveyance cases brought in equity courts in the years shortly after Coke’s report was published.
Edward Coke (NYPL)