In an effort to better understand and learn law, I'd like to ask where certain concepts or laws came from. For example;

  • Where did common law come from?
  • Was there a previous legal template the "Declaration of Independence" used when drafted?
  • What is maritime law and where did it come from?
  • What is the legal concept of "mens rea"?

I feel like my last two example are probably OK. But the first two seem more like historical questions rather than the practice of law itself. Would those type of questions be a good fit for here?

3 Answers 3


Factual questions about history of law are also on topic. A question like "Why did they X in the 12th century" is probably not good because there is often no way to know why the king acted as he did, if the king doesn't blog. Questions that encourage people to invent reasons are bad, but asking "What was the Hittite punishment for assault on a slave?" is a simple factual one.


I think this is more than appropriate - it should be encouraged.

Take for example common law, which you have noted in your first bullet point. The Employment Relations Act 2000 in New Zealand requires parties to an employment relationship to act in good faith. It lists a few requirements that are included in good faith - but do not limit it. To understand the full requirements of this legislative provision for good faith, you would need to look at the good faith principle in the common law, and before that its development in courts of equity - which of course leads to questions about the combination of common law and equity.


I believe they are on topic, however, ask them and we'll find out, won't we?

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