The law may be principled, but it is ultimately pragmatic. Laws seek to address societal problems (the mischief rule), but also make sense (the golden rule). In fact, I’d argue that it has always been this way.
The presence of the principles of equity in the common law, infused with the coming of the Judicature Acts of the 19th c., sought to reconcile the literalism of rule-based decisions and the goal of fairness that previously existed in two independent court systems.
We can go back even further to find hints of this in the common law. The search for pragmatism . . . [more]