Holdsworth, Sir William Searle

Holdsworth, Sir William Searle, 1871–1944, British legal historian. He was (1903–8) professor of constitutional law at University College, London. After 1922 he was Vinerian professor of English law at Oxford. Holdsworth's greatest achievement is his History of English Law (12 vol., 1903–38). The work begins with Anglo-Saxon times, and it is an account of legal procedure and court organization down to the Judicature Acts of 1875 and of the important phases of substantive law through the 18th cent. Many authorities consider Holdsworth's history among the most thorough scholarly accounts of English law ever written. He was knighted in 1929. His other books include The Historians of Anglo-American Law (1928, repr. 1966) and Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian (1928, repr. 1972).

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