Stuart Anderson, “Discretion and the Rule of Law: The Licensing of Drink in England, c.1817–40,” Journal of Legal History 23 no. 1 (2002): 45-59.
Publicans’ pressure for relaxing licensing control, and the free-trade campaign that culminated in the Beer Act had different roots, but both rejected magisterial discretion and shared a commitment to an adjudicatory model with strong ‘rule of law’ values. Subsequent inquiries suggested that for adjudication to replace discretion successfully, freedom to trade should be restricted to the respectable, and that the ‘rule of law’ required modern policing and modern courts. Licensing reforms thus illustrate a shift to modernity which served the interests of both the victuallers who defended their ‘property’ and the free-traders who denied it.