Legal Theory Lexicon: The Law Is A Seamless Web

F.W. Maitland, the famous legal historian wrote, “Such is the unity of all history that any one who endeavors to tell a piece of it must feel that his first sentence tears a seamless web.”  (A Prologue to a History of English Law, 14 L. Qtrly Rev. 13 (1898))  Maitland didn't actually say that the "law is a seamless web," but he is usually given credit for the idea that the law forms some kind of "organic unity" or is characterized by strong interconnections.  The idea that law is seamless web is ambiguous–the aphorism expresses different ideas on different occasions.  This post in the Legal Theory Lexicon series will explicate the seamless web metaphor and its several implications for legal theory.


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