In England, during the first half of the seventeenth century a serious conflict having both legal and political implications arose concerning the Royal Prerogative. King James I insisted upon the Royal Prerogative, which placed the King above the law and gave him absolute power. Sir Edward Coke, on his part, argues that the common law was above the King's Prerogative. This led to a violent clash between Coke and the King in November 1608. A general discussion of the further development of common law and of the decisive role of Parliament is beyond the framework of this Article. One aspect, however, needs to be stressed-namely the development of precedent. In publishing his famous reports of cases, Coke stated that his objective was twofold; first, to provide a permanent record of cases which he regarded as illustrations of different branches of the law; second, to furnish a model of accurate and learned reporting. The English doctrine of precedent is strongly coercive in nature due to the fact that English law is largely based on case law. The idea of precedent is totally foreign to Islam and had been introduced in the subcontinent by British judges. This article discusses the historical influence of English Common Law on Islamic Law, and how the law has been shaped by religious influence in the Middle East and South Asia.


Conference on Comparative Links between Islamic Law and the Common Law: Legal History of Islamic Law and the English Common Law: Origins and Metamorphoses