Portrait of Henry Home, Lord Kames

Lord Kames argued that neither the King nor Parliament had the right to grant monopolies because they harmed the interests of the people (1778)

Found in: Principles of Equity

The Scottish judge Lord Kames (1696-1782) thought that the Courts should step in to ban grants of monopoly issued by the King as well as by Parliament because they benefited a few and caused harm to the people:

Free Trade

Regulations that encroach on freedom of commerce, by favouring some to the prejudice of others, is what renders a monopoly odious in the sight of law. However beneficial a monopoly may be to the privileged, it is a wrong done to the rest of the people, by prohibiting them arbitrarily from the exercise of a lawful employment. Monopolies therefore ought to be discountenanced by courts of justice, not excepting those granted by the crown. And I am persuaded, that the monopolies granted by the crown last century, which were not few in number, would have been rejected by our judges, had their salaries been for life, as they now happily are. I venture a bolder step, which is to maintain, that even the parliament itself cannot legally make such a partial distinction among the subjects.