How did we get from legislating to regulating? 

This is the question that motivates much of my work, starting with my dissertation. In
it, I looked at eighteenth-century private legislation in England, which authorized
revisions of legal rights and grants of powers through a legislative process that was an
antecedent to emergent nineteenth century regulatory activity. I argued that these
procedures enabled private legislation to operate effectively on behalf of local public
and private concerns, members, professionals and parliament itself. 

Currently, I am preparing to move into the nineteenth century and explore three items:
(1) the appearance in the common law (of property, companies, commerce and debt) of
legislative "memes" that reproduced themselves in private and local acts, as
well as standing orders; (2) the impact of routinized language in private and local acts
on general clause or regulatory enactments; and (3) the eventual export of private
legislative functions out of parliament and the extent to which rules, norms and
procedures were exported with regulatory authority. Ultimately, this will link into an
ongoing comparative exploration of regulatory history in the early American republic and
those divergences from Britain owing to American constitutionalism and federalism. 

PDF

Introduction, Private legislation: Function and Procedure in the Eighteenth Century (2009)

This is a study of the private legislative business of parliament between 1688 and 1774,...

 

Working Papers

PDF

A Cheap Bill for Deviant Enclosures: Legal Change and the Eighteenth Century Enclosure Movement, ExpressO (2009)

This article considers the question of legal change in the context of the parliamentary enclosure...