Mar
26
2014
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Stoning: why does it exist?

Stoning of St Stephan by Nicolas Fontaine (PD-EXP)This article is about the historical background behind stoning as a form of execution. It is not an apologia for the practice. I am absolutely not a supporter of stoning or other forms of capital punishment, but it is interesting to try to understand why it exists. These days, stoning is often assumed to be [more...]

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May
05
2010
1

What is paraphernalia?

paraphernaliaEven if you can’t spell the word (I couldn’t, either) you know what paraphernalia is. It’s all the equipment you need for a hobby, sport, or profession: the stuff your spouse (most likely a wife) complains about when the photo equipment, diving gear, golf clubs, dirty shoes, hunting or fishing gear, etc., are not stored [more...]

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May
04
2010
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What is a “house law?”

golden-bullHouse law is not really an English expression, rather just a literal translation of the German Hausgesetz. Nonetheless, it is understandable if one thinks of an old fashioned household in which “Father’s word was law”. In the German expression, the house was a noble one, like the House of Windsor in England. Ruling noble houses [more...]

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Oct
05
2009
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What is a “third party”?

Photo by peasap - CC-BYThe term third party comes from contract law, but it can apply to any kind of legal agreement or commercial process. (The term can also be used to describe a political party other than the two dominant parties in a country with a two-party system, but that’s not the sense being described here.) A contract [more...]

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Feb
12
2009
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What are the potential problems if I raffle my house?

This cottage is not a prize. It's just a photo of a nice cottage (photo by Hellsgeriatric CC-BY) It may seem a good idea when the housing market is stagnant to put up your house as the winning prize in a lottery or raffle. Just sell the tickets at a reasonable price and you’ll have them sold off in no time at all, easily clearing the value of the house. Unfortunately there are [more...]

Feb
09
2009
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Who designed barristers’ wigs?

Roayal Court of Justice, London (photo by Redvers CC-BY)In the English legal system, judges and barristers adopted the wearing of wigs in court in the 1680s following the trend of everyday life when wigs were worn. They soon became recognised as required court dress. By the early 19th century, wigs had gone out of fashion in society, but the legal profession continue to [more...]

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Jan
29
2009
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Is the law different in England and Scotland?

Court room in Edinburgh, Scotland - photo by www.theedinburghblog.co.uk - CC-BYYes, there are many differences between Scots law and English law. It’s not just a question of small details for lawyers to worry about, but of two separate legal systems. Anyone moving from one side of the border to the other should bear this in mind. Common legal issues that lead many people to consult [more...]

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