• Robert Spicer

Conspiracy Law, Class and Society

The common law has produced a few remarkable legal historians, but they have so far applied a lawyer’s rather than a historian’s mind to their task. Robert Spicer has approached the history of conspiracy, both the crime and the civil wrong, with a good overview of the social and political background. The result is quite startling. Not only are we reminded of the marked disfavour in which generations of lawyers have held the notion of conspiracy law, not only do we see judges of vast experience, learning and sobriety yielding to the crudest of their prejudices and bias, but we can actually make out, perhaps for the first time, the real explanation of some of the conflicting decisions.

Mr Spicer is to be congratulated on his valuable survey. By putting each phase of the development of the legal concept of conspiracy into the circumstances of its day, he greatly illuminates this rather murky corner of the law.

(John Platts-Mills)

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