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Legal System

[see also Penal Laws; White Boys & Other Vigilante Groups]


The law in Ireland, said Lord Denman in a famous phrase, was "a mockery, a delusion, & a snare."

- Geo. Potter, To the Golden Door, (1960), p. 62 ( Ind. Lib.)



Habeas Corpus Act

Suspended in Ireland after Union in:







[- no citation given for this entry]


The Irishman had sound practical reasons for distrusting the complex of English law. The local justices of the peace were the English landlords or their agents. These officers were a good deal less than disinterested, & their rulings often arbitrary. The Irish took their private quarrels to them only if one party or the other had some reason to hope for favoritism. Otherwise they preferred to settle their own disputes among themselves... The Irish had equal grounds to distrust the workings of the higher levels of English jurisprudence. The Irish courts were the neglected dumping-ground & patronage hutch of the English judicial system. Many of the judges had bought their way onto the bench. They were often ignorant or brutal men. During one term of a judicial circuit in rural Ireland, the judge heard 100 criminal cases, found 98 defendants guilty of capital offenses, and 97 of them were hanged.

- Wm. V. Shannon, The Am. Irish, p. 11