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The Case of Proclamations

274 words (1 pages) Case Summary

26th Oct 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Legal Case Summary

The Case of Proclamations (1610) 12 Co Rep 74; 77 ER 1352

Royal prerogative; statutory limitation of prerogatives


In what turned out to be a landmark case concerning the Royal Prerogative, Sir Edward Coke (the Chief Justice of Common Pleas) was asked to express his opinion as to whether the monarch could prohibit new buildings or the making of wheat. The King (James I) wished to outlaw these activities as he found them to be against the law.


The case raised the question whether the monarch could by his proclamation change existing laws without consent from Parliament.

Decision / Outcome

The Chief Justice of Common Pleas (following consultations with other judges) held that the King did not have the legal power to create new offences or prohibit the erection of new buildings. In other words, the Royal Prerogative did not allow the outlawing of previously legal actions without Parliament’s consent. Sir Coke argued that the introduction of new laws required a lot of consideration and thus should be left at the hands of Parliament, instead of just one person. The judgment also confirmed that English law consisted of the common law, statutory rules and custom only and did not include proclamations by the monarch. Sir Coke famously said that “the King hath no prerogative but that which the law of the land allows him”.

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UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

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