compurgation


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compurgation

(kŏm'pərgā`shən), in medieval law, a complete defense. A defendant could establish his innocence or nonliability by taking an oath and by getting a required number of persons to swear they believed his oath. Compurgation, also called wager of law, was found in early Germanic law and in English ecclesiastical law until the 17th cent. In common law it was substantially abolished as a defense in felonies by the Constitutions of Clarendon (1164). Compurgation was still permitted in civil actions for debt, however, and vestiges of it survived until its final abolition in 1833. It is doubtful whether compurgation ever existed in America.
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24) "By a series of statutory enactments, known as assizes, Henry transformed the jury into a genuine instrument of justice" (25) while banning trial by compurgation for most felonies and requiring most felony prosecutions to proceed by ordeal.
These adjudicatory measures came in the form of compurgation, ordeals, and battles.
Trial by compurgation, also known as the wager of law, was grounded on ancient and medieval confidence in the sanctity of the oath.
98) An early juridical treatment of the well-known link between honour and duelling is afforded by Bologna University's Giovanni da Legnano who argued (1360) that duels are fought for one or more of three reasons--hatred, an accusation's compurgation, or glory (propter gloriam).
Kichynman claimed he had already cleared himself of this charge through compurgation.
Radical thinking during the English Civil War led, however, to a compurgation of the term "democracy.
12) This is the legal procedure known as compurgation, whereby the accused could call on a group of relatives or neighbours, usually twelve in number, to swear oaths in support of his good character: see David M.
Swedish legal procedure preserved traces of such archaic elements as compurgation, despite the appellate court's skepticism (34-35).
The merchants' opponent could contest its validity in several ways: by compurgation, that is, by swearing a counter oath that was backed by more or higher ranked oath helpers than the merchant could supply (Ebel 1974, p.
30) The proverbial kin loyalty of this period was both manifested in and maintained by feuding, bequeathing, marriage negotiations, and compurgation, as well as the elusive rights and obligations implicit in the mysterious abstraction folcriht.
Additionally, the wager of law or compurgation, in which the plaintiff produced complaint witnesses and the defendant, oath-helpers, whose role was to support the plea or defence of each party by swearing to that party's character, gave way to the inquest jury as the dominant mode of proof.
Compurgation as a mode of trial in common law criminal cases did not survive the Assize of Clarendon in 1166.