Current legal writing is replete with references to the ‘Age of Statutes’ – for the most part invoking a very different meaning from that intended by Professor Guido Calabresi’s book A Common Law for the Age of Statutes. Identifying what Calabresi was responding to, and what most current writing is responding to, reveals a doubly simplified approach to important aspects of the legal system. One aspect is easily seen: statutes do not speak with one voice, and should not be treated as a single class; complaints about the ‘Age of Statutes’ refer to particular sorts of statutes. The other unduly simplified aspect is less easily seen: Equity’s response to statute is different from the response of common law, for reasons deriving from its different conception of its role and different approach to precedent. When those differences are analysed, patterns of historical continuity may be observed.
Leeming, Mark, Equity: Ageless in the Age of Statutes (October 18, 2015). Journal of Equity, forthcoming, 2015; Sydney Law School Research Paper No 15/91.