• The Case of Proclamations (1610), Aldred's Case (1610), and the Origins of the Sic Utere/Salus Populi Antithesis

    Author(s):
    Noga Morag-Levine
    Date:
    2022
    Group(s):
    MSU Law Faculty Repository
    Subject(s):
    Law
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/pjmf-w233
    Abstract:
    At least since the middle of the eighteenth-century, salus populi (the people’s welfare) and sic utere (use your own without injuring others) have encapsulated alternative conceptions of regulatory power, with the former associated with continental police regimes and the latter with Anglo-American conceptions of limited government. This article finds the origins of this antithesis in the intersection of two landmark cases addressed by Coke in the fall of 1610: Aldred’s Case, sic utere’s foundational text, and the Case of Proclamations, where Coke disputed the legality of building and starch proclamations. The Crown had provided common-good justifications for these proclamations, but their beneficiaries had included the individual neighbors of smelly starch makers and obstructive new buildings who had been left unprotected by previously existing local law. Rather than acquiescing to centralized legislation enacted via proclamation or parliament, Coke hinted in Aldred’s Case towards common law nuisance adjudication based on the sic utere principle as the desired mechanism for overriding local law that had privileged injurious land uses. Like salus populi, sic utere served a centralizing function. But whereas the former invited expansive regulatory agendas, the latter conditioned interventions on a judicial finding of a nuisance. In this, Coke’s invocation of sic utere in Aldred’s Case presaged the maxim’s eventual role as a substantive limit on the police power.
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    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 month ago
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