Document Type


Publication Date



In the discussion to follow, I expand my inquiry into what happened in the English courts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in civil cases when special expertise on the part of the decision-makers was needed. A major source that contributes to this study is the law reporting that appeared in The Times, founded in 1785. I explore three questions: (1) What types of cases in late 18th-century England were considered to be inappropriate for juries? (2) What recourses were available to the late 18th or early 19th-century English judge when the issue in a case was outside his own expertise or beyond his individual capability? (3) What exactly was the role of merchant jurors in putting their mercantile expertise to work in a given case?


An earlier version of this paper was delivered on November 17, 2009, at the Ohio State Law Journal's symposium, Originalism and the Jury; the final paper is forthcoming in the Ohio State Law Journal.

Publication Citation

Ohio St. L.J. (forthcoming)