Roman Law discussed in the House of Commons, 13 May, 2024

In a debate about restricting the access to the House of Commons of M.P.s arrested or charged with certain offences, Sir Michael Ellis, K.C., former Attorney General, referred to Roman Law. See Hansard vol. 750, col. 95. He cited the Digest of Justinian as well as the Emperor Antoninus Pius to support the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. He quoted in Latin the well known Roman maxim about proof generally: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. This is a text of the jurist Paul in his commentary on the Edict. One would hope that the principle is generally well-enough established in modern legal systems; but it is nice to see that Roman Law is thought to give some extra weight to an argument in a Parliamentary debate. Sir Michael also referred to the Talmud, Islamic law, and Blackstone to support his argument. Sir Michael refers to this as the general rule of evidence he was taught in his law degree (taken at Buckingham), but has undertaken some comparative research to support his argument.