Judicial Duel

Judicial Duel


(Russian, pole), a legal term in Russian sources of the 13th to 16th centuries.

The duel was usually considered an alternative to taking an oath by kissing the cross; witnesses on both sides could also be pitted against each other. Both the plaintiff and the accused could invoke the judicial duel procedure. The aged, minors, and members of the clergy had the right to hire a replacement. The participant who lost the duel or who refused to duel was considered to have lost the case. The participants had the right to accept reconciliation either previous to the duel or at its start. The judicial duel had become an anachronism by the mid-16th century, although it was mentioned in the Codes of Law of 1550 and 1589. By that time it had almost completely disappeared from legal practice.


Sudebniki XV-XVI vv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
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Henry's proposal of challenging Williams via gages, the agents associated with the judicial duel, is particularly outrageous.
Strictly considered, Prince Hal's and Hotspur's fight is single combat in battle, violence different from judicial duels and duels of honor.
The adversarial system should be rethought, because this throwback to the medieval mode of trial by combat, also called wager of battle and judicial duel, no longer can be justified in a time when the public interest and the general welfare must be served.
The opening chapter begins with definitions of the early modern duel of honor, identifying both its roots in and contrasts with earlier versions of individual fighting such as single combat between two opposed leaders, the more playful chivalric tradition of jousting, and the judicial duel offering trial by combat.
The judicial duel was not restricted to the sword--traditionally an aristocrat's weapon--and could even be fought with clubs and shields because in theory, at least, neither strength nor skill decided the outcome.
While the judicial duel was not the only form of State-sponsored violence, it was a particularly important one because God's favor was implied in the outcome.
Shakespeare's presentation of the judicial duel raises a number of questions about that ritual's relation to monarchic authority.
Richard fails to anticipate the free-floating aggression that erupts when he aborts the judicial duel, breaking up others' business and imposing, as it were, a compulsory coetus interruptus.
The historical Richard had already been temporarily deposed twice in his short life--and the nature of the judicial duel increases the power of the victor tremendously.
Victory in the judicial duel amounts to a character reference from God.
But when he learns that Mowbray has died, he consents to the alternative: the judicial duel.
Yet the judicial duel has been transformed between Act I and Act IV, a point never fully acknowledged.

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