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About Robert Tennyson

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.


Present Ph.D., Jurisprudence and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley


History and Law

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