Dr Bonham's Case and ‘void’ statutes

  title={Dr Bonham's Case and ‘void’ statutes},
  author={Ian Williams},
  journal={The Journal of Legal History},
  pages={111 - 128}
  • Ian Williams
  • Published 1 August 2006
  • Law
  • The Journal of Legal History
There are two opinions on Coke's remarks in Dr Bonham's Case concerning ‘void’ statutes. Firstly that Coke was assuming a power to declare statutes void as incompatible with some form of higher order law; secondly that Coke was merely asserting a power to interpret statutes. This article suggests that the range of meanings of the word ‘void’ in early-modern English law undermines the foundations of the first position, and that there is no good evidence suggesting a natural law position. Coke's… 
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Against Common Right and Reason

    Coke therefore seems to be aware that his reasoning may lead to the statute never being applied in its anticipated form

      Bonham's Case

        Absolute Monarchy, 186. In such an argument, there is also the possibility that Coke deliberately included the word 'void' as a studied ambiguity

          The Case of the City of London (1609) 8 Co. Rep. 126a (emphasis added)

            Bonham's Case Reviewed', 51; Rousewell v Ivory (1618) Trin. 16 J. 1, per Crewe Sjt

              The Equity of a Statute and Heydon's Case', 31 Illinois Law Review

              • 1936