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One of my favorites: English labor law, prior to the 20th century, was still rooted in master/serf traditions. If an employer violated the terms of an employment contract, it was a civil matter and the employee had to fund the resulting lawsuit out of his own pocket (i.e., employee could not ever successfully fight a violation by the employer). But if the employee violated the contract, it was a criminal matter prosecuted free of charge by the state.

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