The Jewish Contribution to English Law: Through 1858 to Modern Times



The story of Jewish emancipation is not well-known, nor how Jews came to make such a significant contribution to the law and democracy in England. This book recounts how Jews first came to England, were expelled, returned, and eventually assumed their place in Parliament and on the bench in court. It tells of the first Jewish politicians, lawyers and judges who later occupied prominent roles as President of the Supreme Court, Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and Attorney-General. The turning point was an 1858 Act of Parliament which allowed Jews and others to take an oath compatible with their own religious beliefs (extending comparable benefits conferred on Catholics almost 70 years before). This opened the doors for the first unconverted Jewish MP, Lionel de Rothschild who won a seat in the House of Commons four times without until then being able to occupy it. The book surveys Jewish tradition from ancient times to the days when modern governments turned to Jewish lawyers in troubling moments - and it lists lawyers famous and less well-known: judges, politicians, the innovators, the experts, and the mavericks who helped build the system we have today.

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Waterside Press
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