Duhaime's Legal Citations

Co. Litt. - Coke Upon Littleton

Related Citation: Co. Rep.


The first of Edward Coke's four volumes which became known, collectively, as Coke's Institutes.

This first book, Coke Upon Littleton, was meant to be an update on that famous English law book written by John Littleton (but in the French language, the language of the English Courts at that time) in about 1481, Treatise on Tenures.

As William Holdsworth, in volume 5 of A History of English Law (London: Metheun & Co., 1924 at pages 466-467) writes:

"Littleton was the first book which a student read. Coke Upon Littleton was meant to be Littleton brought up to date.... but in fact it is a great deal more than this....

"The result is that discussions of the most abstruse legal doctrines are found side by side with the most elementary pieces of information.... It is a legal encyclopedia ...."

A British judge Lord Keeper North once remarked of Coke on Littleton that:

"... it breeds more disorder in the bains than any other book can."

See also Coke's Reports (Co. Rep.).

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