Procedure and legal arguments in the court of Canterbury, c. 1193-1300
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This thesis examines the construction of legal arguments in the English ecclesiastical courts, 1193-1300. The primary source materials used are the records of the thirteenth-century provincial Court of Canterbury, the earliest extensive collection of English ecclesiastical court records. The thesis is divided into two sections: 1) the development and use of Romano- canonical procedure in the Court of Canterbury, and 2) the construction of arguments based on procedure, issues of fact, and issues of law, as well as the citation of legal sources. As yet, very little work has been done on the practical aspects of litigation and legal representation in the ecclesiastical courts before the fourteenth century. By combining a broad overview of procedure with a detailed analysis of select documents and cases, this thesis will provide a more in-depth study of legal argument in the ecclesiastical courts than has previously been available. In the thirteenth century, the ecclesiastical courts were operating within an extensive framework of written law, which made the litigants dependent on both the eloquence of their argument and on their ability to cite their sources and offer proofs. The increased complexity of arguments and the appearance of explicit canon and civil law citations at the end of the thirteenth century were almost certainly a result of the development of the roles of advocates in the church courts. This study will use the surviving records from Canterbury to provide a detailed picture of litigation in the period, in particular with regard to the way in which litigants constructed their arguments and accessed representation, and the manner in which legal experts made use of their education when practising in the church courts. This will allow us to further investigate how litigants were able to understand and make effective use of a changing legal system.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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Embargo Date: 2023-01-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 15th January 2023
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