Here’s a question especially for you law gurus. British Common Law as established by judges in the Middle Ages is the underpinning for the legal systems of most of the English speaking world, including the UK, Ireland, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In all of these countries, however, statutes or constitutions have abolished certain sections of the common law and established additional laws because there was a perception that the Common Law was insufficient due to changing times or new, unforeseen legal situations for which the Common Law provided a socially unacceptable solution.
Could a modern society such as present in the UK, Canada, or the US today function under the traditional Common Law? For example, if the UK Parliament passed a law tomorrow abolishing all statutory law and reinstating Common Law in its entirety, could society function in a meaningful sense? One of the things I remember reading years ago was that under traditional British law, a machine could not be “deceived” in a legally recognized sense and that was why Defrauding a Vending Machine statutes were necessary - because putting a slug in a vending machine did not “deceive” it into believing it was actual money because a machine cannot believe anything, doing this did not constitute “False Pretenses”. I can possibly see that a society operating solely under Common Law might have problems with computers and the Internet, with the Internet becoming very literally a legal war zone because the law would not recognize antisocial acts committed with a computer (e.g. hacking) as fitting the elements of any offense. While my examples relate to substantive criminal law, my question is broader and relates to the entirety of the common law, whether substantive or procedural. Would immigration matters break down because Common Law does not regulate international borders? Would a country operating under it be unable to function in a modern diplomatic sense because enabling statutes permitting the exchange of ambassadors or the granting of diplomatic immunity do not exist?
If Common Law actually varied over time in its initial development, I am most interested in its final state before statutes started to modify it, but will accept another stage. Was it actually the case that Common Law itself was still in a state of flux when statutes were in the process of being passed? If so, make reasonable adjustments to this to get at the intent of my question.