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Lecture 3

CRM 1301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Precedent, Assizes, Seeking Justice

Course Code
CRM 1301
Carolyn Gordon

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CRM1301 The Age of the Monarchy
The Early Middle Ages
- England broken up into principalities
Princes held absolute power within own borders
- Communications was poor
Law was localized
- William of Normandy won battle over King Harold
William gave all of his main supporters land and power
The Rise of the Monarch
- Absolute Monarchy
The power to rule land freely, with no laws or legally-organized direct opposition in
Local autonomy taken away in exchange for peace and safety
- Society based on feudalism
Lords and serfs (agricultural labourers)
- Lord’s ourts ere developed
The Emergence of the Kig’s Court
- Re-defined private wrongs as crimes against the state
- Henry II streamlined procedures and made them fairer
- Circuit judges replaced informal methods of seeking justice based on local practices
- Established Common Law
- Stare decisis deciding cases on the basis of situations of similar facts
- Why is this important?
Removes bias
The Divine Right of Kings
- King inherited his authority directly from God
- What does this mean for the commoners?
If you question the king, you are also questioning God
No one can question the King
- Could be charged with?
Heresy and treason
- Form of social control
Trials by Ordeal
- Heat = hot iron/hot water
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They would have to walk a certain distance with a burning iron, or walk on burning coal
They would then get bandaged up and go home for 3 days
The priest would check on them and if they healed nicely, they were innocent
If their wounds were infected, they were guilty
- Water
The person would be thrown in water
If they sank = innocent
If they floated = guilty
Trial by Battle
- Two people would go to battle
- Whoever prevailed was innocent
- The wealthy would pay others to fight their battles
Trial by Cursed Morsel (for the Clergy)
- The accused would eat something with a feather in it
- If they choked on the feather = guilty
- If they ate the food without choking = innocent
Trial by Wager of Law
- The accused would go into town and find 12 people who could attest for their character and say
that they were innocent
- If they ould’t fid  people, they ere guilty
The Kig’s Courts
- Trial by wager was replaced by jury
Grand assize
Body of men summoned by the King to discuss and accuse an individual who
stands on trial
o Otai people ad rig the to the Kig’s ourt to e judged
Petit assize
Synonym for jury
Group of people tasked with judging the accused
Members of grand assize could also be part of the petit assize
Jury could also be placed on trial crime of perjury, judged by a jury of 24
o If judge/Kig did’t like erdit
o I.e. if an individual was acquitted
o This lead to the jury being more likely to convict
- Three different types of courts
Ministry of finance
Court of common pleas
Anythig that did’t iole the Kig
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