Time immemorial

The term means time beyond legal memory.

The Staute of Westminster 1275 determined that the theoretical and legal beginning of English law is the 3rd September 1189.  This date coincides with the accession of Richard I who took over at the end of the reign of Henry II.  Henry II has been described as the Father of Common Law.

The significance of the term comes from the fact that from time to time disputes arose as to the existence of customs (giving rights over land).  The length of time the custom existed will be an important factor in recognizing the legality of such a right or custom.  The law now provides that a custom can have legal status, if it can be shown to have existed since 'time immemorial' (statute now provides that this is a shorter period of years).

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