Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Eves on Mort D’Ancestor and Collusive Conveyances

Collusive Litigation in the Early Years of the English Common Law: The Use of Mort D’Ancestor for Conveyancing Purposes c. 1198–1230 by William Eves, University of St. Andrews, currently is open access in the Journal of Legal History:

The extent to which real actions such as mort d’ancestor were used collusively for conveyancing purposes in the early years of the English common law is subject to debate. This article first discusses why parties to a transfer of land might engage in collusive litigation, before surveying the existing literature on the question of how collusive suits can be identified, and the suggestions which have been made as to the prevalence of collusive litigation in the late-twelfth and early-thirteenth centuries. It then discusses a method which may be used to provide a more precise answer to this question, and employs this method to uncover the extent to which mort d’ancestor could have been used collusively in the period c.1198–1230. It concludes with a suggestion that this method could be used in relation to other early common law actions to further our understanding of litigation and conveyancing in the period.

--Dan Ernst