Compurgation

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Compurgation

Compurgation

Compurgation, in medieval law, method of proof or defense, consisting of the purging or clearing of a defendant by the sworn oaths of a certain number of the defendant’s peers, or equals. The procedure was singular in that the witnesses, who were called compurgators, swore, not to their knowledge of the fact at issue, but to their belief that the defendant was telling the truth. The number of compurgators was often 12, but it varied according to the rank of the accused and the seriousness of the crime or action. Compurgation was used as part of the regular procedure of the ecclesiastical courts throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It existed among the Anglo-Saxons and was in use in the courts of the common law in England until it was gradually superseded by the jury system. It never existed in the legal procedure of the British colonies in America or of the United States. (1)

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Notes and References

  1. Encarta Online Encyclopedia

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The Legal History of Compurgation

This section provides an overview of Compurgation

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See Also

  • Legal Biography
  • Legal Traditions
  • Historical Laws
  • History of Law

Further Reading

The Legal History of Wager Of Law (Compurgation)

This section provides an overview of Wager Of Law (Compurgation)

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See Also

  • Legal Biography
  • Legal Traditions
  • Historical Laws
  • History of Law

Further Reading

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