Slavery at common law

Slavery At Common Law

Slavery at common law

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Slavery at common law in former colonies of the British Empire, developed slowly over centuries, characterised by inconsistent decisions and varying rationales for the treatment of slavery, the slave trade, and the rights of slaves and slave owners. Until 1807 there was virtually no legislative intervention in relation to slavery, and accordingly the common law had something of a "free hand" to develop, untrammeled by the "paralysing hand of the Parliamentary draftsmen".A reference from Cheshire's Private International Law (1936) as to the virtues of developing common law principles without statutory intervention; although quaere the extent to which this was a benefit in relation to slavery.Parliament was not totally silent on the subject of slavery. Although no legislation was ever passed which either expressly legalised slavery prior to the abolition acts, slavery was mentioned in passing in several acts of parliament, all of which tacitly assumed it to be lawful. A list of the British statutes relating to slavery can be found , no less than 13 of which pre-date abolition. Further, a number of statutes were also passed in the British colonies, where the common law applied, including the Amelioration Act 1798 passed in the Leeward Islands regulating the ownership of slaves.

Some groups assert slavery was not recognised as lawful, often on the basis of pronouncements such as those...
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