One of the very few aspects of my job in purchasing that brings me any joy whatsoever is the dabbling in the legal aspects. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but one has to have a better than average understanding to be able to form contracts on behalf of an employer.
Not that even this element is unconfined joy. The current raft of European Procurement Directives that affect all public bodies buying goods and services are a huge bureaucratic pain. I’ve often considered doing a couple of posts about how these abominations work. But when tempted I have always come to the realisation that there would be no enjoyment in writing them and probably even less for any brave soul who ventured to read them.
However going through the text books and seeing how the Law of Contract in
Here’s a test for you. If you know a purchasing person ask them about ‘unilateral contracts’ and relevant case law. Their little eyes will light up like a child’s at Christmas having been given an opportunity to discuss the celebrated case of Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (1893).
I don’t think it’s an understanding of the operation of the law in itself that’s fascinating but rather the accumulation of cases and legislation that over the course of time which has built to the current position.
And with that frame of mind I felt a slight sense of sadness when I read today of the latest Statute Law Repeals Bill currently under consideration in the House of Lords. These are Bill’s that go through Parliament every few years to remove old legislation from the Statute Books.
Included in the list for repeal this time;
There are six Acts to finance the building of workhouses in the
There are 50 obsolete turnpike Acts relating to the building and repair of roads in the home counties in the 18th and early 19th Centuries. They reflect a time when roads were maintained locally, with travellers having to pay a toll to cross a turnpike.
An Act of Parliament passed after the 1819 ‘Peterloo’ Massacre which (if my rudimentary research ii up to snuff) banned ‘Drilling exercises’.
There are also 12 Acts relating to the affairs of the East India Company, covering the period 1796 to 1832; the company actually ceased to trade in 1874.
The 1792 Servants' Characters Act which sought to prevent servants from organising "inside job" burglaries.
And probably the best, an 1839 law requiring street musicians in the City of London to leave the neighbourhood if ordered to do so by any householder irritated by their music, with a penalty of 40 shillings for failing to comply. Apparently the law was aimed at street organists and brass bands. It gave householders the right to demand that anyone playing under their window should go and do so in the next street instead.
And in a rather sad atavistic way I’d rather that laws like these were left on the statute books. No practical reason for it. Not a rational point of view I know. But I rather like the idea that people protesting about the Corn Laws still can’t march up to the top of the hill and back down again with any semblance of order.
Mind you with a little tweaking and a few amendments some of these aged pieces of legislation may be of use even now. I’m sure James Purnell would be fascinated by the workhouse provisions. And turnpikes might just provide the Road Pricing policy that Gordon is searching for.