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

Real Estate Recording Fees to be Increased posted on Dec 10

Under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44B section 8,  real property conveyance documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds are subject to a Community Preservation Act surcharge.  This law was amended by chapter 41 sections 29 and 30 of the Acts of 2019.  Effective December 31,   …Continue Reading Real Estate Recording Fees to be Increased

Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone posted on Nov 13

Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone

Portraits in Massachusetts Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates. These pages provide links to biographical information abut people who have been particularly important in legal history in Massachusetts, as our government took shape in the cauldron of the American Revolution and grew and changed throughout   …Continue Reading Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone

Word(s) of the month – suffrage posted on Nov 1

Word(s) of the month - suffrage

Words of law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law. Today’s word is suffrage. suffrage (sәf-rji). (14c) 1. the right or privilege of casting a vote at a public election. – Also termed right to vote.   …Continue Reading Word(s) of the month – suffrage