Les Reports Des Divers Special Cases: Adjudge en Le Court Del Common Bank en Les Reignes de Les Tres Hault & Excellent Princes Hen. VIII. Edw. VI. Et Les Reignes Mar. & Eliz

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

by William Dalison

Dalison's Reports

Title page from Dalison's Reports, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author William Dalison
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by the Assigns of Richard and Edward Atkins..., for Samuel Keble ... Daniel Brown ... Isaac Cleave ... and W. Rogers ...
Date 1689
Edition First
Language French
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages 2 preliminary leaves, 117, [10] pages
Desc. Folio (34 cm.)
Location Shelf H-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

William Dalison (d. 1559), a seventeenth century judge and law reporter, was the second son of William Dalison, also a member of the legal profession. The younger Dalison followed his father to Gray’s Inn in 1534. His career began a rapid ascent: he was called to the bar as early as 1537 and became a reader by 1548. As his career progressed, Dalison developed a reputation for being a learned lawyer.[1] In October of 1552 he became a serjeant at law, at which time he was still likely under the age of forty. In November of 1552 he was made a justice of the Queen’s Bench and was reappointed to that position after Mary I’s death in 1558. He served one more term before dying in January, 1559.[2]

Les Reports des Divers Special Cases covers many of the cases presided over by Dalison during the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I. Some of the cases reported are from before his appointment, including several from the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.[3] Les Reports includes a large collection of cases argued in closed sessions of Serjeants’ Inn.[4] One of these cases is amongst the earliest references on record to a judicial decision on the authority of royal proclamations.[5] Several of the cases reported were landmark decisions in the history of criminal law.[6] Dalison’s case reports, when read in conjunction with the reports of other contemporary judges, were considered to be a valuable record of the cases of his time.[7]

It should be noted that Dalison’s authorship of the work is somewhat questionable, as several of the cases reported occurred after his death.[8] Scholars suggest the case reports were authored by Dalison or fellow judge Richard Harpur, who died in 1577.[9] Additionally, Harpur’s own reports were often mixed with Dalison’s in the printed versions of their reports, meaning that even the authorship of the cases during Dalison’s lifetime cannot be fully verified.[10]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Brown's Bibliography[11] includes the first edition (1689) of Dalison's Reports des Divers Special Cases Adjudge en le Court del Common Bank based on quotations in the manuscript copy of John Marshall's law notes. The Wolf Law Library followed Brown's suggestion and purchased a copy of the first edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound with William Bendlowes' Les Reports de Gulielme Benloe: des Divers Pleadings et Cases en le Court del Comon-bank, en le Several Roignes de les Tres Hault & Excellent Princes, le Roy Henry VII. Henry VIII. Edw. VI. & le roignes Mary & Elizabeth in full calf; rebacked with original morocco, gilt-tooled label. Boards feature blind rules and filigree corners. Purchased from the Lawbook Exchange.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. Edward Foss, The Judges of England with Sketches of Their Lives, and Miscellaneous Notices Connected with the Courts at Westminster, from the Time of the Conquest (London : Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans ... [et al.], 1848-1864; repr., Clark, New Jersey: The Lawbook Exchange, 2003) 5:478-479.
  2. J. H. Baker, "Dalison, William (d. 1559)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed 4 March 2015.
  3. J. G. Marvin, A Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: T. and J. W. Johnson, Law Booksellers, 1847), 249.
  4. Baker, "Dalison, William (d. 1559)."
  5. Rudolph W. Heinze, The Proclamations of the Tudor Kings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 37.
  6. Baker, "Dalison, William (d. 1559)."
  7. Foss, The Judges of England with Sketches of Their Lives, 5:479.
  8. J. H. Baker, "Dalison, William (d. 1559)."
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012, rev. May, 2014) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.