© copyright 2019 David Chan Smith    

Why is


in legal and political institutions important?


Sir Edward Coke and the Reformation of the Laws re-interprets the foundations of modern English 


"Smith has written an impressive legal history drawing on a huge range of legal cases and reports, and managed to craft them into a readable account of Coke’s law reforms..." 

Reviews in History



My recent book, Sir Edward Coke and the Reformation of the Laws (now available for preorder in paperback), examines the career of Sir Edward Coke. Coke was among the greatest common law judges and a parliamentarian noted for his opposition to the king in the early seventeenth century. Many of his decisions and law reports are still cited today in common law jurisdictions.


The book uses new archival material to re-interpret our understanding of his career and legal thinking. By doing so, the book adds to our knowledge of the development of constitutional law in England during the early modern period and by extension, the basis of many modern liberties.


A new essay on Coke and the religious influences on his jurisprudence can be found in Great Christian Jurists in English History, a collected volume of essays from Cambridge University Press.


Preorder Paperback of the Reformation of the Laws
Blog: the Rule of Law
Article on the common law and religion
Article on Coke and religious thought