This thesis identifies the "legal problem novel" which was created and developed in England during a period of political revolutions in neighboring Continental Europe from 1789 to 1848. The first legal problem novel, William Godwin's Caleb Williams published in 1794, employs two narrative tactics which became the hallmark of the genre: a forensic presentation of the facts of legal cases, and the portrayal of legal systems that are alternatives to the government's system. Godwin also presents the reader with a fact relating to the legal case in the novel which is unknown to the court. In 1820, Walter Scott published the legal problem novel Ivanhoe, set in Medieval England when Richard I united the Saxon and Norman people and founded the common law. Scott uses Godwin's narrative techniques: presenting a witch trial and portraying five competing legal systems operating in England at the same time. Ivanhoe establishes that, just as English society changed a great deal between the Middle Ages and the nineteenth century, the common law could, and should, be reformed to meet the needs of the modern British society. In 1848, Elizabeth Gaskell published the legal problem novel Mary Barton, using Godwin's forensic narrative techniques of presenting the facts of a criminal murder trial against an innocent man; informing the reader of an important exculpatory fact that is not presented to the court; and offering the possibility of an alternative legal system based on religious principles of rehabilitation and forgiveness. Gaskell advocates for capitalist masters to take responsibility for the welfare of their workers and to seek legislative reforms. Caleb Williams, Ivanhoe, and Mary Barton sought revolutionary changes in the law. Although they use similar narrative tactics, the novelists approach the subject of an unjust outdated legal system in different ways. The three novels elevate the novel form beyond the mere story telling function to intervene in society and advocate for legal reform.