Slaw’s Scavenger Hunt – the Readers Respond With a Wealth of Nominations

As we said in launching the Slaw Scavenger Hunt contest, we always knew that the List that the two Simons had assembled was going to be partial, and we’ve been gob-struck at how we could have put a list together and missed dates as significant as the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen from 1789, which led to so many other developments. Duh!

But we’ve been overwhelmed by the variety and the erudition of what our readers have suggested should go on the list. So here is the list that our reader contestants have put together:

450 BCE Traditional date for the establishment of the Torah
624 CE Constitution of Medina (described by some as the world’s first written constitution)
633 Quran
1087 Irnerius starts the first law school at Bologna
1190 – Enactment by Eleonore d’Aquitaine of the Laws of Oleron in maritime law
1259 The Provisions of Westminster
1274 Second Council of Lyons
1300 The Statute of Forestallers (printed in Statutes of the Realm)
1474 The Treaty of Utrecht with the Hanseatic League Printed in English Historical Documents 1327-1485 (by A.R. Myers and David Douglas)
1474 – Venetian patent statute, first recognition of patents
1506 the Statute of Jan Laski, the first Continental European constitutional statement of the rule of law.
1532 Machiavelli’s The Prince
1532 Resignation of Sir Thomas More
1532 Supplication against the Ordinaries (English Reformation)
1532 Kanun-i Osmani (law code of Suleyman the Magnificient)
1532 Constitutio criminalis carolina – evidence throughout the Holy Roman Empire, ratified that year. Established inquisitorial procedure.
1532 Submission of the Clergy the Convocation of Canterbury
1641 Abolition of the Star Chamber
1641 Habeas Corpus Act
1641 Treaty of Hamburg (putting an end to the Thirty Years’ war)
1648 Peace of Westphalie
1651 Leviathan – Thomas Hobbes
1681 Treaty of The Hague
1689 English Bill of Rights – “surely the foundation for the US Constitution’s bill of rights and much of Anglo-saxon liberty thereafter, worldwide”.
1698 Another Treaty of The Hague
1698 Piracy Act – making piracy illegal on high seas (so far as England was concerned).
1710 The Statute of Anne, the foundation of the modern common law on copyright.
1748 David Hume, Enquiry on Human Understanding
1763 Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence
1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
1792 Thomas Paine, the Rights of Man
1831 Establishment of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine – oldest international organization in the world
1848 Communist Manifesto
1848 First responsible government in the British Empire established in Nova Scotia
1848 French Revolution of 1848 – principle of the right to work
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that gave much of the US southwest to the US, from Mexico.
1848 Jervis Acts – Indictable Offences Act 11-12 Vict c. 44 s. 18 was the first appearance in English law of the “caution” – you have the right to remain silent but anything you say may be taken down in writing and used against you.
1848 Hungarian declaration of independence – though it did not actually lead to independence…
1861 H.S. Maine, Ancient Law
1881 French law on freedom of the press
1932 Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562
1945 Charter of the United Nations
1952 Completion of the Uniform Commercial Code
1957 Civil Rights Act of 1957
1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
1963 Gideon v. Wainwright establishes a constitutional right to counsel
1971 John Rawls – A Theory of Justice
1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
1996 International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the use of Nuclear Weapons
1996 UN Model Law on Electronic Commerce

So what have they – and the two Simons – missed? If you notice a significant date that isn’t on this list or the original contest, tell us by sending (on one item or any number) by email to and we’ll update this list.


  1. 1214 Someone in England finally says: “Hang on, why exactly are we doing whatever the King wants?”