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INNOVATION. Change of a thing established for something new.
2. Innovations are said to be dangerous, as likely to unsettle the common law. Co. Litt. 370, b; Id. 282, b. Certainly no innovations ought to be made by the courts, but as every thing human, is mutable, no legislation can be, or ought to be immutable; changes are required by the alteration of circumstances; amendments, by the imperfections of all human institutions but laws ought never to be changed without great deliberation, and a due consideration of the reasons on which they were founded, as of the circumstances under which they were enacted. Many innovations have been made. in the common law, which philosophy, philanthropy and common sense approve. The destruction of the benefit of clergy; of appeal, in felony; of trial by battle and ordeal; of the right of sanctuary; of the privilege to abjure the realm; of approvement, by which any criminal who could, in a judicial combat, by skill, force or fraud kill his accomplice, secured his own pardon of corruption of blood; of constructive treason; will be sanctioned; by all wise men, and none will desire a return to these barbarisms. The reader is referred to the case of James v. the Commonwealth, 12 Serg. & R. 220, and 225 to 2 Duncan, J., exposes the absurdity of some ancient laws, with much sarcasm.
INNOVATION, Scotch law. The exchange of one obligation for another, so that the second shall come in the place of the first. Bell's Scotch Law Dict. h. t. The same as Novation. (q. v.)