Post Content

Following up on yesterday’s blog post, “Word(s) of the Month – codification, we can take a look at historical codifications of Massachusetts law.

“The earliest codification of laws in Massachusetts was the 1649 codification, the Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes, which incorporated the Colonial Ordinance of 1641-47. In addition to having historical interest, this codification is still used as an interpretive aid in certain cases. See Opinion of the Justices, 365 Mass. 681, 684-685 (1974).

Since the adoption of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, the Massachusetts legislature has officially codified the General Statutes five times, the last occurring in 1921. These five codifications were prepared by special commissions appointed by the legislature, and each took a number of years to complete. Although the commissioners could consolidate some laws and make stylistic changes in the statutes, they were specifically instructed not to change the substance of the laws they were codifying. . . Each codification has a different title:

the Revised Statutes (1836),

the General Statutes (1860),

the Public Statutes (1882),

the Revised Laws (1902),

and the General Laws (1921).

From Chapter 2, “Statutes and Session Laws” by Hon. Margot Botsford (Ret.) and Karen Dean-Smith, Esq. in Handbook of Legal Research in Massachusetts, 4th Edition, edited by Mary Ann Neary, MCLE, Inc. 2017.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 1: Animals filing as species. posted on Oct 19

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue?  Part 1: Animals filing as species.

    “[The Palila] wings its way into the federal court as a plaintiff in its own right.”   With these words in 1988, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit gave hope to animal rights supporters  everywhere that animals could finally sue   …Continue Reading Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 1: Animals filing as species.

Do Corporations Have Standing? posted on Oct 18

Do Corporations Have Standing?

“Corporations are people, my friend.”— Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, (Aug. 11. 2011)       Artificial person. (17c) An entity, such as a corporation, created by law and given certain legal rights and duties of a human being;  a being, real or imaginary, who for the   …Continue Reading Do Corporations Have Standing?

Do Trees Have Standing? posted on Oct 17

Do Trees Have Standing?

From Justice William O. Douglas’ dissent in Sierra Club v Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 741 (1972) : “The critical question of ‘standing’ would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal   …Continue Reading Do Trees Have Standing?