Many Sheep

Agrarian contribution to law

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Sheep are a part of legal history, and have influenced court procedure significantly, the reason being that sheep are finite in number, and, in the days before Marco Polo had brought back from the lands of the Khan an invention called “paper”, they (being the sheep) supplied the hide industry, which in turn supplied the writing industry (such as it was, back then), which in turn allowed Chancery clerks and other literates to endorse (‘write on the back of’) rolls of parchment, annotating them with details of law suits brought and decided in the King’s courts.
So space was limited.
On the question of whether a plea should fail for lack of sufficient particulars (say, of the sums owed), it was eventually decided (paper taking a while to reach the Records Office) that such a plea was good, because otherwise there would be a ‘stuffing of the Rolls’.

A likely story.

The nominate report:

le_stuffing

(from GoogleBooks)

 

The English Reports:

le_stuffing2

Source:
Church v Brownewick (19 Car II, 1667) 1 Sid 334; 82 ER 1140; [1714] EngR 120
CommonLII

 

“Sometimes a plea is denied, as one seventeenth-century reporter who thinks he is writing in French, puts it: pur avoider le stuffing del rolls ove multiplicity del matter
— Charles Donahue, JR, “The hypostasis of a prophecy’: legal realism and legal history”, in Matthew Dyson and David Ibbetson (eds), Law and Legal Process: Substantive Law and Procedure in English Legal History (2013), [Cambridge University Press, 2013], pp1-16, p 15.

 

a_stuffing_of_the_rolls

CommonLII: [1693] EngR 8

The Bishop of Exeter & AL’ v Sampson Hele [1693] EngR 8; [1693] Shower PC 88; 1 E.R. 61 (1 January 1693)

 

Of course, electric sheep have infinite backs:

This judgment is unavoidably lengthy and has taken some time to prepare because the Court has been required to answer hundreds of questions of law that have been stated in the various appeals as well as consider the applications for judicial review. The Court has received some 20,000 documents and hundreds of authorities and has had to consider over 3,000 pages of submissions.

Ortmann v United States of America   [2017] NZHC 189