(Sir Edward) Coke further noted that legal disputes about such matters as inheritance of goods:

are not to be decided by natural reason but by the artificial reason and judgment of law, which law is an art which requires long study and experience, before that a man can attain to the cognisance of it: that the law was the golden metwand and measure to try the causes of the subjects; and which protected his majesty in safety and peace. . . .

I know that this was written in 1607, but:

  1. How would you determine the purpose of which? It doesn't sound like the modern relative pronoun; "which is an art which" sounds curious. This refers to Why does legal English sometimes repeat the antecedent noun after "which"?.

  2. I think that is optional, but is it truly? Why or why not?

This doesn't duplicate; the linked question doesn't answer question 2.

Source: P13, How the Law Works, Gary Slapper

  • Which law is to be taken as a unit (akin to at which time/point). Before that is a compound conjunction and is identical in meaning to before. – Anonym Jul 5 '14 at 0:46
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    In 1607 it was OK to use which law as a relative pronoun phrase; nowadays a non-restrictive relative clause would drop the noun and simply use which. Language changes. – John Lawler Jul 5 '14 at 3:16
  • One might also rephrase it as said law being an art... – Barmar Jul 5 '14 at 6:48
  • Would this please be reopened? It's not a duplicate; the other question doesn't answer my question 2. – Accounting Jul 9 '14 at 13:56
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    As we have told you on multiple occasions the statement "It's not a duplicate" is not sufficient for a question to not be a duplicate. If the other question does not answer your question, you must edit this one to explain exactly why the duplicate doesn't answer your question. "I still don't get it" is not sufficient explanation. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 9 '14 at 16:00