By Peter Wesley

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In the Application of English Law Ordinance, however, the legislature is guilty of imprecision when it announces that the common law of England and the rules of equity are to be in force in Hong Kong (section 3),5 while Acts of Parliament apply if extended by their own terms or by other legislation, including the schedule to the Application of English Law Ordinance itself (section 4). There is no doubt that local English customs are not intended to be introduced, nor is the fourth meaning relevant.

46 A principle, on the other hand, is broader: it is an authoritative starting point for legal reasoning,47 inclining towards a particular decision but not necessarily compelling it. 48 Bacon said 'it is a sound precept not to take the law from the rules, but to make the rule from the existing law' ;49 Lord Mansfield maintained that 'the law of England would be strange science indeed if it were 40 See Chapter 2 below. Postema (note 10 above), p 16. 'The common law, now so called, is founded on the law of nature and reason.

For the view that Hart's rule of recognition is no more than what lawyers do or believe and thus cannot give guidance in areas of doubt see p 42 below. 20 10 The Common Law A set of traditional practices and ideas The third conception of the common law focuses not on particular formulations of law - the propositions - but on the practices and ideas which underlie them. Common law is essentially a system or body of custom: it consists of a body of practices observed and ideas received over time by a caste of lawyers ...

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