Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

‘Because I said so?’ Revisiting the ‘letters’ in early modern letters patent

Dent, C.ORCID: 0000-0002-1801-713X (2022) ‘Because I said so?’ Revisiting the ‘letters’ in early modern letters patent. Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, 12 (1). pp. 47-67.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Letters patent have been used as a tool of governance in England since medieval times – though their functions have changed. The uses to which Henry II put his were limited by the socio-political context of the feudal system. When Elizabeth I began to use them as a tool of ‘economic’ policy – such as handing them out to regulate trade with the continent – it was only one of a number of uses. The role of the letters in governance, including the disbursement of peerages, under Henry II and in the sixteenth to the seventeenth century are compared here. The conclusion is that their use, at the time of the passing of the Statute of Monopolies, should best be seen as the Crown sharing part of its ‘body politic’, bringing the patentee into the monarch’s inner circle, rather than as a granting of an individual ‘right’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Law and Criminology
Publisher: Elgar Publishing
Copyright: © 2022 The Author
Item Control Page Item Control Page